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Challenges to gay marriage bans: Where Utah and other states stand
First Published Aug 26 2014 04:09 pm • Last Updated Aug 26 2014 04:09 pm

State bans on same-sex marriages have been falling around the country since summer 2013, when the Supreme Court ordered the federal government to recognize state-sanctioned gay marriages. The remaining state bans all face legal challenges, and the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago heard arguments Tuesday on cases from Indiana and Wisconsin.

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 May struck down the state’s ban. The state Supreme Court brought marriages to a halt and is weighing state officials’ appeal. Same-sex couples are also suing the state in federal court. The attorney general’s office has asked that proceedings in both cases be put on hold while the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether to take up a case from Utah.

— COLORADO: Several county clerks began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in June despite the ban. A state judge struck down the ban July 9 but put the ruling on hold while the state appeals. On July 23, a federal judge also overturned the ban but issued a stay; a federal appeals court later extended the stay. The state Supreme Court on July 29 ordered all clerks to stop issuing licenses to same-sex couples. Republican Attorney General John Suthers says that he knows it’s only a matter of time until gay marriage is legal but that he’ll continue to defend the law.

— FLORIDA: A federal judge declared the state’s ban unconstitutional in mid-August, joining state judges in four counties. He issued a stay delaying the effect of his order, meaning no marriage licenses will be immediately issued for gay couples.

— HAWAII: Same-sex couples sued in 2011 to overturn the state’s ban. A federal court later upheld the ban, but then Legislature last year legalized gay marriage. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments in San Francisco on Sept. 8, the same day it will consider cases from Idaho and Nevada.

— IDAHO: State officials are appealing a federal judge’s decision to overturn the state’s ban. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco is scheduled to hear arguments Sept. 8, the same day it will consider appeals from Hawaii and Nevada.

— INDIANA: A federal judge struck down the state’s ban in June, and hundreds of couples wed before the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago granted a stay of the ruling. The appeals court heard argument from both sides on Aug. 26, though no decision was immediately made.

— KENTUCKY: Two Kentucky cases were among six from four states heard in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati on Aug. 6. Rulings are pending on recognition of out-of-state marriages, as well as the ban on marriages within the state.


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— MICHIGAN: The state’s ban was overturned by a federal judge in March following a rare trial that mostly focused on the impact on children. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati heard arguments Aug. 6, and a ruling is pending.

— NEVADA: Eight 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, the same day the court will consider appeals from Hawaii and Idaho.

— OHIO: Two Ohio cases were argued Aug. 6 in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and a ruling is pending. In one, two gay men whose spouses were dying sued to have their out-of-state marriages recognized on their spouses’ death certificates. In the other, four couples sued to have both spouses listed on their children’s birth certificates.

— OKLAHOMA: An appeals court tossed the state’s ban in July but put its ruling on hold on hold pending an appeal, meaning same-sex couples can’t marry in Oklahoma for now. Attorneys representing the Tulsa County court clerk — who refused to issue a marriage license for a lesbian couple there — asked the Supreme Court this month to hear the case.

— TENNESSEE: The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Aug. 6 on an appeal of a federal judge’s order to recognize three same-sex couples’ marriages while their lawsuit against the state works through the courts. A ruling is pending.

— 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 of Appeals in New Orleans, which is soon expected to set a date for arguments.

— UTAH: The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled this summer that Utah must allow gay couples to marry, though it put the ruling on hold pending an appeal. The state has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the state’s ban.

— VIRGINIA: The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond ruled in July that the state’s voter-approved ban is unconstitutional. The state has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which hasn’t said whether it will accept the case. But the high court granted a request on Aug. 20 from a county clerk to delay implementation of the ruling, which would have allowed same-sex couples to marry beginning the next day.

— WISCONSIN: A federal judge struck down the state’s ban in June, leading to more than 500 same-sex weddings before the judge put her ruling on hold. The state appealed to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, which heard arguments from both sides on Aug. 26 but made no immediate 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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