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Federal appeals court blocks Idaho same-sex marriage ruling

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] on Tuesday granted [order, PDF] Idaho's request for a stay pending appeal of a recent decision by a federal judge to overturn the state's ban on same-sex marriage. This essentially means that no same-sex marriages will be allowed or recognized in Idaho until the appeal is decided. Judge Andrew Hurwitz stated in the order:

It is almost certain that the Supreme Court will eventually resolve the merits of this appeal, and I do not venture to predict the Court's ultimate conclusion. But, in light of this court's recent decision in SmithKline Beecham Corp. v. Abbott Laboratories... I find it difficult to conclude that the Idaho ban on same-sex marriage would survive interim Ninth Circuit review. SmithKline applied "heightened scrutiny to classifications based on sexual orientation for purposes of equal protection." ... Given that high burden, it is difficult to see how the Idaho appellants can make a "strong showing" that they will prevail in their defense of a measure that denies the individual appellees the right to marry because of their sexual orientation.
The court put the case on an expedited briefing schedule, with a hearing to be held the week of September 8.

Last Thursday the Ninth Circuit temporarily stayed [JURIST report] the order finding Idaho's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. Earlier last week Judge Candy Dale of the US District Court for the District of Idaho struck down [JURIST report] the laws banning same-sex marriage and the state immediately filed a motion to stay the ruling [text, PDF]. The Ninth Circuit issued a brief order granting the motion: "The district court's May 13, 2014 order is temporarily stayed pending this court's disposition of appellants' emergency motions for a stay pending appeal." Similar litigation surrounding same-sex marriage bans is occurring in other states as well, including Alaska, Arkansas, Indiana and Pennsylvania [JURIST reports].

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