Nevada officials in one county have
started issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, two
days after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco struck
down restrictive marriage bans in Nevada and Idaho.
The delay stemmed from an order issued
by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Nevada officials dropped their defense
of the ban in February, leaving the Coalition for the Protection of
Marriage to argue its merits before the appeals court.
Idaho asked for and Kennedy granted an
emergency stay in the ruling. Later, the high court clarified that
the order only applied to Idaho, not Nevada.
A second roadblock emerged on
Wednesday, when Monte Stewart, the attorney representing the
Coalition for the Protection of Marriage, filed motions with the
Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit seeking to set the court's ruling
aside. The filings were withdrawn on Thursday without comment,
though the Supreme Court last year refused intervenor status to a
third party in a similar case challenging California's Proposition 8.
Overjoyed brides and grooms rushed to
government offices after the Ninth Circuit again declared that its
ruling is “in full force and effect.”
Shortly after 4 PM, Carson City
Clerk-Recorder Alan Glover told the Nevada
Appeal that he had been given the go ahead.
“If somebody comes in, we're going to
issue them a license,” he said.
Other clerks, however, said that they
would wait for a judge to issue an order barring enforcement of the
UPDATE: Judge James C. Mahan, a federal
judge in Las Vegas, has signed the injunction, the Reno
Gazette-Journal reported, officially making Nevada the 27th
state with marriage equality.