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Gay marriage-ban challenges: Where Utah and other states stand
First Published Aug 05 2014 09:29 am • Last Updated Aug 05 2014 03:47 pm

State bans on same-sex marriages have been falling around the country since last summer, when the Supreme Court ordered the federal government to recognize state-sanctioned gay marriages. The remaining state bans all face legal challenges to overturn them, and a federal Court of Appeals in Cincinnati will hear arguments Wednesday on cases from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.

Gay couples can marry in 19 states and the District of Columbia. A look at where cases pending in other states stand:

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— ARKANSAS: A state judge in Arkansas’ largest county struck down the state’s gay marriage ban, saying it has "no rational reason" for preventing gay couples from marrying. The state Supreme Court brought the marriages to a halt and is weighing state officials’ appeal. The state has until Sept. 8 to file its argument.

— COLORADO: A state judge struck down the state’s gay marriage ban July 9 but put the ruling on hold pending the outcome of a state appeal. Despite that order, several county clerks began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Colorado’s Republican attorney general, John Struthers, who is appealing has said he knows it’s only a matter of time until gay marriage is legal there, but that he’ll continue to defend the law. All documents in the case must be turned over by Oct. 20.

— FLORIDA: Judges in three counties have overturned the state’s gay marriage ban, but all stayed their rulings, meaning no marriage licenses will be issued for gay couples pending appeals. A separate lawsuit is pending in federal court seeking to overturn the gay-marriage ban statewide.

— IDAHO: State officials have vowed to appeal a decision from a federal judge overturning the state’s same-sex marriage ban. A federal appeals court is scheduled to hear arguments Sept. 8.

— INDIANA: A federal judge struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage in June, and hundreds of gay couples wed before the state appealed. Arguments are scheduled in federal court in Chicago on Aug. 26.

— KENTUCKY: Attorney General Jack Conway has said he will not defend the state’s ban on same-sex weddings, but the state hired outside attorneys to handle its appeal of a judge’s ruling that overturned the ban. It’s among several appeals that will be heard by federal judges in Cincinnati on Wednesday.

— MICHIGAN: The 6th Circuit is reviewing Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban that was overturned by a federal judge in March following a rare trial that mostly focused on the impact of same-sex parenting on children.

— NEVADA: Eight gay couples are challenging Nevada’s voter-approved 2002 ban, which a federal judge upheld a decade later. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has scheduled arguments for Sept. 8.


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— OHIO: The challenge to the state’s ban is one of several before the Cincinnati-based appeals court that will hear them all Wednesday in a significant session in the wave of legal efforts around the country to overturn marriage bans.

— OKLAHOMA: An appeals court tossed the state’s ban on gay marriages last month but put its ruling on hold on hold pending an appeal, meaning same-sex couples can’t marry in Oklahoma for now. Gov. Mary Fallin has pledged to "fight back against our federal government when it seeks to ignore or change laws written and supported by Oklahomans."

— TENNESSEE: A federal judge ordered the state to recognize three same-sex couples’ marriages while their lawsuit against the state works through the courts. Tennessee officials are appealing the preliminary injunction to the 6th Circuit in the spate of hearings Wednesday.

— TEXAS: A federal judge declared the state’s ban unconstitutional, issuing a preliminary injunction. The state is appealing to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court in New Orleans, which is expected to soon set a date to hear arguments.

— UTAH: The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled this summer that Utah must allow gay couples to marry, finding the Constitution protects same-sex relationships, though it put the ruling on hold pending an appeal. The state filed its appeal Tuesday, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the case and uphold the state’s ban.

— WISCONSIN: A federal judge in Madison struck down the state’s ban in June, leading to more than 500 same-sex marriages in the state before the judge put her ruling on hold. State prosecutors filed a brief with the 7th Circuit U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago late last month arguing that no fundamental right to gay marriage exists. The court will hear arguments late this month.

— VIRGINIA: A federal appeals court panel in Richmond ruled last week that the state’s voter-approved prohibition on gay marriage is unconstitutional. A county clerk has asked to delay the ruling while it’s appealed to the Supreme Court. If no delay is granted — though the court typically allows them — marriage licenses could be issued 21 days after the ruling.

— ELSEWHERE: Other states with court cases demanding recognition of gay marriage are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming. Most lawsuits challenge same-sex marriage bans or ask states to recognize gay marriages done in other states.



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