BREAKING: 9th circuit strikes down gay marriage bans in ID, NV

In a whirlwind week for gay rights, the 9th circuit court of appeals has just struck down Nevada’s and Idaho’s state bans on gay marriage.

This also paves the way for gay marriage in Montana, Arizona and Alaska, all of which are in the court’s jurisdiction.

I’m still trying to get word on what this means for these other states and territories in the 9th circuit that do not recognize gay marriage, and which have not been so far mentioned in the new stories on this: Arizona, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands.

The decision was unanimous.

The news comes on the heels of yesterday’s decision by the Supreme Court not to hear appeals from five states. That decision by the court effectively legalized gay nuptials in those states, and paved the way for gay marriage in an additional 6 states in the same appellate districts.

So where things stand today, the appellate court reportedly remanded the case back to the district court, so that it can issue an injunction permanently enjoining the state from blocking gay marriages, and/or not recognizing such marriages from other states.

In the meantime, the state of Nevada has the right to start such marriages immediately, if it so chooses.

Now, what does this mean?

First, the losers can ask the case to go en banc, meaning 11 judges re-hear the case, rather than the three who already ruled. It’s unclear how that request will fare, as it’s not terribly clear why anyone would think this case wouldn’t be denied by the Supreme Court, as were all the cases yesterday.

Second, the losers will ask the court to stay its decision, pending appeal. But again, in view of yesterday, why grant the stay when it’s clear the Supreme Court will reject the appeal?

UPDATE: There’s no stay in Idaho. Chris Stoll with the National Center for Lesbian Rights tells me that the appellate court issued a “mandate,” which basically means the stay pending appeal is no longer in effect, and starting tomorrow morning, the state will be under an injunction from the district court requiring it to permit gay couples to marry, and to recognize out of state gay unions.

All three judges were appointed by Democratic presidents. This is what happens when you vote for Democrats. We win back our¬†humanity. Don’t let anyone tell you that it doesn’t matter if you vote for Democrats. Tell that to the millions of gay Americans who are now more equal citizens as a result of several Democratic presidents (and a few Republicans too, surprisingly). Yeah, Democrats stink. But they stink a lot less than the other guys, and sometimes, like with our civil rights, they pretty much rock.


And let me weigh in again on something I’ve been noting ever since the Supreme Court decided US v. Windsor. In response to those who bemoan the fact that the Supreme Court refused yesterday, and in Windsor, to legalize gay marriage nationwide, I say “good for them.” Had the court mandated gay marriage in all 50 states in one fell swoop, there could have been a backlash, a la Roe v. Wade. At the very least, it would have empowered the bad guys, and the political party that they control (hint: Republican). It also would have freaked out several of the bad states, in the south, southwest, and northwest (yes, Idaho, that means you) simultaneously. Which would have given their Republican Senators a chance to uniformly speak out, on the same day, in opposition.

Instead, the Supreme Court gave us a ruling in Windsor that basically mandated that local courts recognize gay marriage, without telling them to do it right now. Rather, local plaintiffs would have to file their own cases in each state, or appellate region, and wait. Days, weeks, months, or perhaps a few years.

And as a result, we’d win in each state piecemeal. So each state’s crazy representatives in Congress might speak out on that particular day, but otherwise they’d be quiet. And rather than 30 crazy Republican Senators speaking out simultaneously, all we got yesterday was one egotistical wackjob who wants to be president, and thinks he’s going to get there by shutting down the government and the gays: Ted Cruz. And Ted Cruz angling to be president isn’t hardly as newsworthy as two dozen GOP states in simultaneous uproar.

So, our victory happens slowly, like in Carl Sandburg’s poem “Fog,” in cat steps. It ends up looking organic, and inevitable, and after dozens of victories in lesser courts, downright boring. The Supreme Court gave us the perfect recipe for victory: ennui.

“Fog,” by Carl Sandburg

THE fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Here’s some of the judges’ decision (the entire decision is below).

First off, the court had something to say about the Republican governor of Idaho’s contention that gay marriage would lead straight people to “abuse alcohol and drugs, engage in extramarital affairs, take on demanding work schedules, and participate in time-consuming hobbies” (apparently, they actually claimed this). The governor’s name is — and I’m not making this up — Butch Otter:


Here’s some more:


And more:


And their conclusion:


9th Cir Order

Someone’s gonna have the sadz.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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