Same-Sex Marriages In Idaho Put On Hold

By: Greg Botelho
By: Greg Botelho

(CNN) -- Two days after Idaho became the latest state where a federal judge effectively legalized same-sex marriage, an appeals court has stepped in to prevent such unions -- at least for now.

In a one-line ruling signed by three judges, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Thursday that an earlier district court ruling that declared Idaho's same-sex marriage ban to be unconstitutional "is temporarily stayed pending this court's disposition of appellants' emergency motions for a stay pending appeal."

U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Wagahoff Dale offered a sweeping opinion Tuesday saying that Idaho laws "deny its gay and lesbian citizens the fundamental right to marry and relegate their families to a stigmatized, second-class status without sufficient reason for doing so."

Still, while Dale's decision was clear, it didn't take effect right away. She stated it would become law at 9 a.m. Friday.

Thursday's decision from 9th Circuit appeals court prevents a repeat of what happened in Utah and Michigan, where federal judges similarly struck down those states' same-sex marriage bans effectively immediately. Higher courts later stayed those decisions on appeal, but not before some same-sex couples married.

In recent months, federal judges have found restrictions limiting marriage to one man and one man to be unconstitutional in several other states. But in those rulings didn't take effect immediately, having been stayed as appeals courts and possibly the U.S. Supreme Court weigh in.

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