Without explanation, the court announced on Thursday in a two-page order it has stayed pending appeal a decision by U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon against Nebraska’s prohibition on same-sex marriage, which was set to take effect at the start of next week.
The three-judge panel that issued the stay consists of U.S. Circuit Judge Roger Wollman, a Reagan appointee; U.S. Circuit Judge Lavenski Smith, an appointee of George W. Bush; and U.S. Circuit Judge William Benton, another George W. Bush appointee.
The order also announces that the Nebraska litigation, which was appealed to the Eighth Circuit after the lower court ruling, would be placed on the same track as three other pending marriages cases before the appellate court. They’re from Arkansas, South Dakota and Missouri.
Directing the clerk to expedite briefing in the case, the court announces that oral arguments for all three lawsuits will take place in Omaha on May 12.
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson and other state officials a filed brief with the Eighth Circuit on Tuesday seeking a stay of the district court’s injunction.
The case, Waters v. Ricketts was, filed by the ACLU of Nebraska, the American Civil Liberties Union and the law firm of Koenig | Dunne on behalf of seven same-sex couples in Nebraska. The couples sought recognition of their out-of-state marriages and the right to marry in Nebraska.
Danielle Conrad, executive director of the ACLU of Nebraska, said her organization is “disappointed” with the court’s decision.
“The ACLU of Nebraska and our partners in this case and around the country will continue to fight until this discrimination ends,” Conrad added. “The discrimination that is enshrined in our constitution hurts our clients and countless other Nebraska families. One day Nebraska’s promise of ‘equality before the law’ will ring true for all who call our state home.