[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit [official website] on Thursday stayed a ruling [JURIST report] of the US District Court for the District of Nebraska [official website], which would have allowed [Reuters report] same-sex couples in Nebraska to marry beginning on March 9. The case arose out of a challenge [JURIST report] to Nebraska’s ban on same-sex marriage brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska [advocacy website]. District Judge Joseph Bataillon, the same judge that previously attempted to strike down Nebraska’s same-sex marriage ban in 2005, determined that Nebraska’s same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional. The Eighth Circuit’s decision to stay this ruling calls for oral arguments on the issue, which are scheduled for May 12. Oral arguments will determine whether Nebraska’s ban on same-sex marriage will be once again reinstated. Attorney General Doug Peterson stated: “[w]e are glad the court has granted the stay because it provides current stability in Nebraska’s marriage licensing process.”
Same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] continues to be one of the most polarizing legal topics in the US today. Same-sex marriage is currently permitted in 37 states and the District of Columbia. In February a Texas county judge ruled that the state’s same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional [JURIST report]. The US Supreme Court announced in January that it would decide [JURIST report] whether same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry everywhere in the US. A decision is expected by late June.