Earlier this month, the United States Supreme Court denied Idaho officials’ request to stay a lower court ruling that struck down the state’s ban on gay marriage. This cleared the way for some same-sex couples to get married on October 10. The two-sentence order was issued by the court without any additional comments.
The Associated Press reported that the order effectively recalls a decision made by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals earlier. The Supreme Court’s ruling will now allow that decision, which had been found to violate the Idaho voter’s constitutional rights, to take effect.
Two days prior to the final decision, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy had approved of Idaho Governor Butch Otter’s request for a stay on allowing marriage equality. However, the state went on to appeal that decision from a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to the full circuit via a process known as an en banc hearing.
October 10’s order from the Supreme Court specifically vacates Kennedy’s earlier order allowing that stay, which technically refers to the ruling made by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, striking down Idaho’s ban on gay marriage, making it the latest presiding legal ruling on the matter.
According to SCOTUSBlog, the unsigned court order is “further indication that the Justices are unwilling to be drawn into the constitutional controversy at this point, leaving it to lower courts to continue to explore it. … [The Ninth Circuit] is expected to act shortly to put its decision back into full effect, clearing the way for gay and lesbian couples in Idaho to seek marriage licenses.”
Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released a statement right after the ruling was made saying same-sex couples in Idaho can now marry freely. Even though the state can still appeal the Ninth Circuit decision, there are too many signs that point towards Idaho’s interest in requesting an en banc hearing. According to HRC, the state cannot possibly deny gay couples marriage licenses even as it files an appeal.
“Today’s Supreme Court order is yet another critical step in the path towards full nationwide marriage equality,” said HRC's legal director Sarah Warbelow. “Same-sex couples cannot wait while the judicial process plays out, and the Supreme Court clearly agrees.”
Photo Credits: The Daily Beast