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U.S. Supreme Court lifts stay on Idaho same-sex marriage ruling


WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court says same-sex marriage can go ahead in Idaho.

The court issued an order Friday that appears to remove the last legal obstacle keeping gay and lesbian couples from getting married in the conservative state.

The federal appeals court in San Francisco on Tuesday declared same-sex marriage bans illegal in Idaho and Nevada.

Justice Anthony Kennedy temporarily blocked same-sex weddings in Idaho a day later after the state asked for a delay. Idaho officials said county clerks would be forced to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples almost immediately without the high court’s intervention.

Kennedy offered no explanation for his order, but indicated it would not be lasting. The court issued no explanation for its order Friday, either.

Unclear when same-sex marriages will begin in Idaho

Update: 4:30 p.m. MDT

BOISE, Idaho (AP) – Supporters of gay rights cheered a U.S. Supreme Court order saying same-sex marriages could proceed in Idaho, while state officials were trying to determine when wedding ceremonies might take place.

The high court issued the order Friday, which lifted a stay that had been issued Wednesday by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

But couples anxious to exchange vows had to wait a little longer, as state officials said county clerks couldn’t begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses until the state got another order from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Earlier this week that appellate court ruled Idaho’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional.

“We are in communication with county clerks across the state, and will advise them how to proceed when we get an indication from the 9th,” said Todd Dvorak, a spokesman for the Idaho attorney general.

Chris Stoll, one of the attorneys who represented a group of women who sued trying to overturn Idaho’s gay marriage ban, said he was “absolutely thrilled.”

Stoll also said it was unclear when same-sex unions might proceed, as action was needed by the 9th Circuit.

Chris Rich, Ada County clerk in Boise, said if there were no specific instructions from the state attorney general by 5 p.m. Friday, no marriage licenses would be issued until Tuesday, at the earliest. Monday is Columbus Day, a government holiday.

“Until I get word, I really can’t do anything,” Rich said.

Ann Dutson Sater, the recorder of Bonner County in northern Idaho, said she was in the same position.

“We have gotten quite a few phone calls from people who would like to get married,” Sater said Friday afternoon

Machelle Migneault rushed to the Ada County courthouse after she learned of the Supreme Court decision.

“I just heard from work, and I zoomed right over here,” she said, only to learn that marriage licenses weren’t yet available. “It’s just been a roller coaster of emotion.”

Latah County clerk begins issuing same-sex marriage licenses

Update: 5:55 p.m. MDT

MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) – At least one county clerk in Idaho began issuing same-sex marriage licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court said gay marriages in the state could proceed.

Susan Petersen, the clerk of liberal Latah County in northern Idaho, began issuing marriage licenses late Friday afternoon.

Other county clerks said they were waiting to hear from the state attorney general before they proceeded. The attorney general’s office said a final order was needed from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

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