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3 more states await same-sex marriages

Rulings void Arizona, Wyoming, Alaska bans

Julie Westfall Los Angeles Times

Same-sex couples in Arizona, Wyoming and Alaska will be free to obtain marriage licenses by next week after federal judges struck down bans in two of those states Friday and the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request for a further stay in Alaska.

U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick struck down Arizona’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage early Friday morning, and state Attorney General Tom Horne later told reporters he would not appeal the ruling, meaning marriages could begin immediately.

“It would be unethical for me to file an appeal that would have no chance of success,” he said.

Hours later, U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl in Wyoming overturned that state’s ban, citing a June ruling by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld a decision to overturn Utah’s ban on same-sex marriages.

Skavdahl stayed his own order until Oct. 23. It was not immediately clear if Wyoming officials would appeal.

Carl Tobias, a constitutional law professor at the University of Richmond, told the Los Angeles Times that Skavdahl’s ruling left little room for a challenge.

“The district judge in Wyoming said he was bound by the 10th Circuit rulings out of Utah and Oklahoma, so that would seem like a pretty fruitless appeal, to the 10th Circuit,” Tobias said.

The U.S. Supreme Court also cleared a path for same-sex couples in Alaska to marry after it refused to extend a stay of a lower court ruling that overturned the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Alaska’s gay marriage ban was one of several struck down by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this week, but a federal judge also issued an order last week barring the state from enforcing its same-sex marriage ban last week. Alaska’s ban was approved by voters in 1998.

While most state offices were closed Friday in observance of Alaska Day, couples could begin to marry as early as Monday, according to the Alaska Dispatch.

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