Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Gay marriages off in Vegas after high court order

Published:Thursday | October 9, 2014 | 10:00 AM
Jody May-Chang hugs her wife, Maria May-Chang, in the Ada County Courthouse yesterday morning after couples were denied a marriage licence in Boise yesterday. AP

LAS VEGAS (AP): SAME-SEX COUPLES who lined up to get married in Idaho and made plans to obtain wedding licences in Las Vegas had their hopes dashed yesterday after a US Supreme Court justice temporarily blocked a lower-court ruling that declared gay marriage legal in Idaho and Nevada.

The states had joined the growing number of states where same-sex marriage is legal after the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled Tuesday that gay couples' equal protection rights were violated by gay marriage bans in both states.

In Las Vegas, the self-proclaimed marriage capital of the world, the Marriage License Bureau had expected big crowds seeking gender-neutral marriage licences starting at 2 p.m. local time. But Clark County Clerk Diane Alba told The Associated Press those plans were on hold.

"It looks pretty clear that we're not going to issue licences this afternoon," she said.

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's order temporarily halting gay marriage came a little more than an hour after Idaho on Wednesday filed an emergency request for an immediate stay. The state's request said that without a stay, state and county officials would have been required to begin issuing marriage licences to same-sex couples Wednesday morning.

Couples were already lined up to get married, but their mood turned from joyous to devastated after the stay came down.

Amber Beierle, one of the eight women who sued Idaho over its gay-marriage ban, had hoped to marry her partner, Rachael Robertson, on Wednesday.

"We were past the metal detectors, we were just a few feet away from the clerk, and then our attorney was handed a one-page document," Beierle said. "Apparently, it was Justice Kennedy telling us no."

Idaho Gov C.L. 'Butch' Otter said he was glad Kennedy acted quickly.