Alaska Governor Sean Parnell, a
Republican, on Monday appealed a ruling striking down the state's ban
on gay marriage.
In 1998, Alaska became one of the first
states to amend its constitution through a public vote to define
marriage as a heterosexual union.
U.S. District Court Judge Timothy
Burgess struck down the ban on Sunday, saying it violates the 14th
Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Parnell immediate put out a
statement saying he had a duty to appeal the decision.
Burgess heard oral arguments in the
case on Friday, three days after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
in San Francisco struck down similar bans in Idaho and Nevada. The
ruling affects all states within the court's jurisdiction, including
Alaska, Arizona and Montana.
Parnell's lawyers asked Burgess to set
aside his ruling pending an en banc appeal to the Ninth
Circuit Court of Appeals. An en banc appeals involves the
court's complete slate of judges, skipping the customary 3-judge
“In addition, opinions on the subject
of this litigation are expected to be issued promptly from the Fifth
and Sixth Circuits creating a reasonable likelihood that a split
among the circuits could arise as a result of upcoming rulings, and
that the Supreme Court will take up one of these decisions on
certiorari,” the brief states.
Several gay couples on Monday were
issued marriage licenses. But the state has a 3-day waiting period,
meaning couples have yet to exchange vows.