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Supreme Court lifts hold on same-sex marriage in Idaho

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday allowed gay marriage in Idaho to go into effect by lifting a temporary hold imposed earlier in the week.

The court rejected an emergency request by the state, which is contesting a federal appeals court ruling from Tuesday that struck down the state’s gay marriage ban.

At around the same time the high court issued the order, a district court judge in North Carolina struck down that state’s gay marriage ban.

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In the Idaho case, Justice Anthony Kennedy had on Wednesday temporarily prevented the appeals court ruling from going into effect and asked gay marriage supporters to file court papers in response to the state’s request.

The court action on Friday bookended a week in which the nine Supreme Court justices played a crucial role in paving the way for gay marriage in up to 11 states where it was previously illegal.

On Monday, the justices declined to hear appeals in seven different cases. By doing so, they left intact regional appeals court rulings that struck down gay marriage bans in five states. Another six states under the jurisdiction of the appeals courts were also effected.

Separately, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco struck down the Idaho and Nevada bans on Tuesday. That ruling in turn will affect three more states within the court’s jurisdiction that have gay marriage bans: Arizona, Alaska and Montana.

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Overall, the action by the two courts means that up to 35 states are likely to soon have gay marriage. Before this week there were 19.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh, Chris Reese and Marguerita Choy)

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