Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has temporarily blocked an appeals court ruling that declared gay marriage legal in Idaho and Nevada. The order came a little more than an hour after Idaho today filed an emergency request for an immediate stay and about 10 minutes before the state said that state and county officials would otherwise have been required to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The order also applies to Nevada, where marriage licenses to same-sex couples were going to start to be issued later today. Kennedy's order requested a response from lawyers for the couples involved in Idaho's gay marriage lawsuit by 5pm EDT tomorrow, at which time the court will determine whether a more permanent stay is called for.
In the interim, no gay marriages will take place in the state. The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals declared gay marriage legal in Idaho and Nevada yesterday, a day after the Supreme Court let similar rulings from three other appeals courts become final and effectively legalized same-sex marriage in a total of 30 other states. Having allowed those other rulings to take effect without a full review by the Supreme Court, it would be surprising if the justices were to put the 9th Circuit Court ruling on hold for any length of time, observes the AP. Reuters notes that Kennedy is considered the court's swing vote on the topic of gay marriage. (As of yesterday, here was the status of gay marriage in all 50 states.)