May 15, 2014 | by Chris Johnson
No Idaho same-sex weddings, but Arkansas marriages to continue
gavel, law, court, gay news, Washington Blade

The Ninth Circuit issued a temporary stay on a ruling against Idaho’s marriage ban (Photo by Bigstock).

Reversals related to legal challenges seeking marriage equality took place throughout the day Thursday — as one court prohibited same-sex weddings from taking place in Idaho, and another allowed them to continue in Arkansas.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco issued a temporary stay on a lower court ruling against Idaho’s ban on same-sex marriage. That means weddings originally slated to begin on Friday will be postponed indefinitely as the appellate court considers arguments on a extended stay.

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter asked the Ninth Circuit for a stay on the weddings as he vowed to appeal the decision against the ban to the higher court. In a legal filing, Otter’s private attorney Monte Stewart said, on one hand, the state may incur financial costs if the same-sex marriages were allowed, and on the other, same-sex couples “may be irreparably harmed in their dignity and financial interests if their marital status is retroactively voided.”

But elsewhere in the country, Pulaski Circuit Court Judge amended his decision last week striking down Arkansas’ ban on same-sex marriage in a way that will allow weddings in the Natural State to continue. On the previous day, the Arkansas Supreme Court instructed him to address in his order an obscure Arkansas law still prohibiting clerks from giving marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but denied an emergency request from the state to stay the weddings.

In addition to adjusting his ruling, Piazza refused to grant a stay on the weddings pending appeal of the case to the Arkansas Supreme Court, according to the Associated Press, denying the state suffered harm as a result of the marriages.

“The same cannot be said of the plaintiffs and other same-sex couples who have not been afforded the same measure of human dignity, respect and recognition by this state as their similarly situated, opposite sex counterparts,” Piazza wrote. “A stay would operate to further damage Arkansas families and deprive them of equal access to the rights associated with marriage status in this state.”

Arkansas Attorney Dustin McDaniel, a Democrat, has said he personally supports same-sex marriage, but has pledged to defend the law against the legal challenge to Arkansas ban and appeal decision to the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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