Alaska Loses Round in Gay Marriage Appeal

Supporters of Alaska’s ban on same-sex marriage failed to win a single vote among 29 appellate judges to hold a full 11-judge hearing to resurrect the ban, after a judge struck it down in October.

Alaska’s request to skip a three-judge panel review and go directly to an en banc hearing by 11 judges of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is extremely difficult to win.

In an order posted by the appeals court Tuesday, Alaska failed to win a single vote among the judges for en banc review.

In May, five gay couples in Alaska had asked the state to overturn the constitutional amendment that limited marriage to one man and one woman.  In 1998, Alaska became one of the first states to pass a constitutional ban on same-sex unions.

In October, a federal judge overturned the ban and allowed gays and lesbian couples to marry.

The state appealed the ruling to the 9th Circuit, but instead of taking the normal route of a three-judge panel to consider the case, Alaska asked the full court for an immediate review of the issue.  The request came as the 9th Circuit overturned similar marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada.

In Alaska’s case, the district court judge found that the state’s constitutional provision violated to the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection and due process clauses of the 14th Amendment.

In October, the state won a brief stay of gay marriages from the 9th Circuit to allow time for an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court denied an emergency stay order and same sex marriages began shortly after.

Case: Hamby v. Parnell, No. 14-35856


One comment

  1. Whoo hoo for my chosen state! My lgbt friends have been marrying now for weeks. Just as important is the fact that many were already married. Now their marriages and families are recognized. A great day for civil rights in the US…SC, MT, and Alaska!


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