Gay couples won the right to wed in Alaska and Arizona today, after separate court decisions ended bans in those states. That brings the number of states that currently allow gay marriage to 31, reports USA Today, though it could reach at least 35 soon. That's up from 19 only two weeks ago, before a spate of federal appeals court rulings. In Alaska, the US Supreme Court tersely denied the state's request to put a stop to same-sex marriages pending an appeal. "The application for stay presented to Justice (Anthony) Kennedy and by him referred to the Court is denied," said the one-sentence paragraph from the court.
The denial means gay couples in Alaska who have licenses can start getting married immediately. In Arizona, gay couples already have started getting married after a federal judge struck down the state's ban. Arizona's conservative attorney general said continuing to fight the case would be a waste of taxpayer dollars. The District Court ruling overturns a 1996 state law and a 2008 voter-approved constitutional amendment that outlawed gay marriage. Rulings in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee are imminent. (More Alaska stories.)