Same-sex couples in Alaska, Arizona and Wyoming will be able to obtain marriage licenses by next week after federal judges struck down bans in two states on Friday, while the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request for a further stay in Alaska.
Arizona’s voter-approved same-sex marriage ban was struck down by U.S. District Judge John Sedwick. State Attorney General Tom Horne said he would not appeal the ruling, allowing marriages to begin immediately in Arizona, the Los Angeles Times reported.
[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Jennifer Pizer” author_title=”Attorney of Lambda Legal law firm”]
Some of our couples have been waiting decades. Their happy day has come, and we hope that Arizona embraces this decision and allows same sex couples to enjoy their constitutional rights here in Arizona.
Just hours later, U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl in Wyoming overturned the state’s ban citing the June ruling by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Skavdahl stayed his order until October 23. It is not clear if officials in Wyoming will appeal the decision.
The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for same-sex couples to marry in Alaska after it refused to extend a stay from a lower court ruling that overturned the state’s same-sex marriage ban.
Alaska’s ban was one of several struck down by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals earlier in the week. Couples can begin marrying in Alaska as early as Monday.
There are now 31 states in which same-sex couples can wed, a number that has grown by 19 in the past two weeks. Montana and South Carolina are also within the geographical reach of the appeals courts that have already ruled, while Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky await an appeals court ruling that is anticipated any day, USA Today reported.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court chose not to hear appeals from Virginia, Oklahoma, Utah, Wisconsin or Indiana, and the Supreme Court is unlikely to hear a gay marriage case unless a federal appeals court splits from the rulings so far and upholds bans.
This may happen in the 6th Circuit appeals court in Ohio, or in any of the three appeals courts where rulings will eventually be issued.