On Wednesday, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy put a temporary hold on a lower court’s ruling that same-sex marriages may begin in Idaho and Nevada.
The order comes in response to an emergency request by the administration of Idaho Gov. Butch Otter seeking a recall of the lower-court decision that both state’s marriage bans were unconstitutional. While Justice Kennedy’s order is a response to Idaho’s request, it applies to both states. The delay may not last long, however, as Kennedy gave plaintiffs in the case until 5 p.m. on Thursday to file a response.
The Otter administration’s emergency motion, filed on Wednesday morning, argues that the Tuesday decision by a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals immediately striking the state same-sex marriage bans “short-circuited the normal process.”
County clerks had been preparing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples Wednesday morning, and at least one Idaho couple may have succeeded in getting married, according to local reports:
Wednesday’s order follows the Monday decision by the Supreme Court to let three similar same-sex marriage rulings by appeals courts stand. As a result, same-sex couples can now marry in more than half the states. If the 9th Circuit decision goes into effect, same-sex marriage could soon be allowed in as many as 35 states. In light of that Monday decision by the Supreme Court, a decision to put the 9th Circuit’s Tuesday ruling on hold for very long would be surprising, the Associated Press reports.