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Gay Marriage Hold in Idaho Puts the Brakes on Efforts in Arizona

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AP/Stephen B. Thornton, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
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The path to same-sex marriages here hit a bump this morning Wednesday as a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily stayed Tuesday's ruling by the 9th S. Circuit Court of Appeals voiding a similar law in Idaho. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer explains.

In its Tuesday ruling, the appellate judges issued an order for both Idaho and Nevada to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples this morning. Nevada did not object. But, Idaho Governor Butch Otter convinced Justice Anthony Kennedy to block that order, at least for his state, while he presents arguments about why the 9th Circuit got it wrong. That leaves efforts to void similar restrictions here in limbo. But, attorney Jennifer Pizer of Lambda Legal, representing challengers to the Arizona law, said Otter has an uphill fight. The justices just this past Monday rejected similar pleas from other states to delay appellate court rulings that gays be immediately allow to marry. Pizer said Otter has to convince the justices that the arguments he is making to stay the mandate are somehow different than those which were presented — and rejected — in the other cases. 

“I can’t imagine, for the life of me, what it would be because these arguments have been made exhaustively. I think the burden will be higher on Idaho to show there’s something new and different from the cases that were just rejected,” Pizer said.

The stay could be short-lived. Kennedy gave challengers to Idaho’s gay marriage ban until 5 p.m. Thursday to respond, meaning the full court could either affirm the stay or dissolve it as soon as Friday.

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