Federal Court Strikes Down Gay Marriage Ban in Idaho, Nevada

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down gay marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada on Tuesday. The federal court also has jurisdiction over Alaska, where five same sex couples are suing to overturn the state’s ban on same sex marriage.

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Joshua Decker is executive director for the American Civil Liberties Union in Alaska. He says the arguments Alaska’s making to defend its ban are the same ones Idaho and Nevada made:

“I don’t see how anyone could read today’s opinion by the 9th circuit and see how Alaska could have any leg to stand on to try to defend it’s unconstitutional ban.”

A state spokesperson says the Department of Law is reviewing the decision and declined to make someone available for an interview.

Caitlin Shortell is an attorney in Anchorage who is representing the Alaskan couples who are plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the state. Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for Friday afternoon. But Shortell says the 9th circuit has given the Alaska court its marching orders:

“The district court in our case is bound to follow the decision of the 9th circuit striking down pretty much identical laws banning equal marriage.”

Shortell says she expects marriage equality to be a reality in Alaska soon. Alaska’s gay marriage ban has been in place since 1998.