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Appeals Court Puts Alaska Marriages On Hold, Sends State Officials To Supreme Court

Unless the Supreme Court grants a stay, the stay issued tonight by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will end on Friday and same-sex couples' marriages would then be allowed to proceed.

Posted on October 15, 2014, at 8:08 p.m. ET

Ann Marie Garber (left) and Koy Field speak to reporters after filling out a marriage license application Monday, at the Department of Vital Statistics in Anchorage, Alaska.
AP / Mark Thiessen

Ann Marie Garber (left) and Koy Field speak to reporters after filling out a marriage license application Monday, at the Department of Vital Statistics in Anchorage, Alaska.

WASHINGTON — The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals put same-sex couples' marriages in Alaska on hold for a couple days, giving Alaska officials until noon PT Friday to seek a more permanent stay from the Supreme Court.

The decision puts a temporary stay on the Sunday trial court decision striking down Alaska's ban on same-sex couples' marriages.

The move followed denials of similar requests with regards to last week's decision from the 9th Circuit upholding a lower court's ruling that Idaho's ban is unconstitutional. Same-sex couples began marrying in Idaho on Wednesday.

Tonight's decision, by a different panel of judges than the three judges who heard the appeal over Idaho and Nevada's bans, sends the issue of state's marriage bans back to the Supreme Court — and Justice Anthony Kennedy — for a second week in a row. On Oct. 6, the justices declined to hear several cases challenging states' bans, and on Oct. 10, the court denied Idaho's request for a stay pending its further appeals of the case challenging its ban.

Notably, Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain, one of the most conservative judges on the 9th Circuit bench, stated that he would have granted the full stay requested by the state — which would have lasted throughout any appeal. However, Judge Jay Bybee — another conservative judge — joined his more liberal colleague, Judge Marsha Berzon, in granting only the temporary stay.

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