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Federal Judge Won't Put Alaska Marriages on Hold

Federal Judge Won't Put Alaska Marriages on Hold

Federal Judge Won't Put Alaska Marriages on Hold

Judge Timothy Burgess denied the state's request to stay his pro-marriage equality ruling, but the state is now asking an appellate court to do so.

The federal judge who struck down Alaska’s ban on same-sex marriage Sunday followed up Tuesday by denying the state’s request to place a hold on his ruling.

After U.S. District Judge Timothy Burgess turned them down, state officials quickly asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for an emergency stay of the ruling Tuesday evening, reports the Alaska Dispatch News, but no decision has come from the appeals court yet. The state filed notice Monday of its intention to appeal the ruling to the Ninth Circuit, which has already ruled against marriage bans in Nevada and Idaho.

“It’s in the lap of the Ninth Circuit now,” Allison Mendel, one of three attorneys who represented the couples challenging the marriage ban, told the Dispatch News. The Ninth Circuit is unlikely to grant a stay, she said, as the panel has repeatedly found bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. If the state’s request is denied there, it can ask for a stay from U.S. Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy, who oversees the Ninth Circuit, but she predicted Kennedy will probably not grant a stay either, as the high court lifted one he had placed on the Idaho decision.

Same-sex couples began marrying in Alaska Monday, when officials in the remote town of Barrow waived the usual three-day waiting period between the license application and marriage. Couples elsewhere in the state who filed paperwork for licenses that day will be able to marry Thursday.

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