In a move consistent with prior decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court, a federal appeals court on Monday agreed to stay its decision striking down Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage.
Without explanation, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a request from Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller to place on hold a ruling against the state’s marriage until the final word on the law comes down from the Supreme Court.
“The stay will terminate automatically if the certiorari petition is denied or will terminate upon the judgment of the Supreme Court if the certiorari petition is granted,” the two-page order states.
The three-judge panel that issued the stay is the same panel that struck down weeks ago Indiana’s marriage law as well as Wisconsin’s ban on same-sex marriage. The panel consists of Richard Posner; a Reagan appointee; Ann Claire Williams, a Clinton appointee; and David Hamilton, an Obama appointee.
Had the stay not been issued, the ruling against Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage would have gone into effect 21 days after the decision against the law as the litigation continues.
The Seventh Circuit’s stay is consistent with the decisions from the Supreme Court to place on hold same-sex marriages in Utah and Virginia follow court rulings striking down the marriage bans in those states. The appeals court’s decision is also consistent with a Supreme Court decision to stay state recognition of same-sex marriages performed in Utah.
Kyle Megrath, marriage coordinator for Hoosiers for Marriage, said the way forward to win marriage equality in Indiana is for the Supreme Court to take up the matter.
“This stay was expected, and similar motions have been granted in other jurisdictions,” Megrath said. “What’s important is that our case is up for consideration by the U.S. Supreme Court at the end of this month, and we could know very soon whether the Justices will take up the issue of marriage equality in the coming term.”
The stay decision doesn’t address the Seventh Circuit ruling as it pertains to Wisconsin. A trial judge who had decided the case had earlier placed a stay on Wisconsin same-sex marriage until all appeals were exhausted in the lawsuit.