- The Washington Times - Friday, October 10, 2014

Court papers flew in two states Friday, as state officials fought to retain the right to defend man-woman marriage in their states.

Gay marriage was legalized in five states after the Supreme Court Monday denied to review three circuit court rulings.

Typically, other states in a circuit would be bound by the court’s ruling, but as of Friday, officials in North Carolina and Kansas were working to preserve their rights to defend their state man-woman marriage laws.

In addition, Idaho officials were waiting for an update from the Supreme Court on whether it would stay the 9th Circuit’s decision overturning Idaho’s man-woman marriage amendment.

An updated response from Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy or the full Supreme Court was expected at any time. Lawyers for gay couples in Idaho asked the high court not to stay the appellate ruling.

In Kansas on Friday, state Attorney General Derek Schmidt asked the Kansas Supreme Court to block local judges from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples while a legal battle on gay marriage was underway.

At least one Kansas county issued a lesbian couple a marriage license this week; however, other counties refused to follow suit.

In North Carolina, the state’s top two lawmakers were waiting Friday to hear from a federal judge on whether he would admit them as intervenors in a gay marriage lawsuit.

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper has declined to defend that state’s 2012 voter-passed, man-woman marriage amendment.

On Friday, North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate Pro Tem Phil Berger filed papers asking U.S. District Judge William L. Osteen Jr., to permit them to step in to defend the law. They argued that a new North Carolina law specifically permits such intervention by lawmakers when there is disagreement between the state attorney general and lawmakers.

Meanwhile, North Carolina gay couples and marriage supporters gathered at local marriage license offices, hoping that a favorable court decision from Judge Osteen would permit them to marry Friday.

In South Carolina, a unanimous South Carolina Supreme Court has approved a request from South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson to block probate-court judges from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples while a federal lawsuit on the matter was pending.

U.S. District Judge J. Michelle Childs has asked for briefs to be filed by Oct 15 in the South Carolina case, Bradacs v. Haley.

Gay marriage licenses were issued for the first time this week in Utah, Virginia, Oklahoma, Indiana, Wisconsin, Colorado, Nevada and West Virginia. This brings the number of gay marriage states to 27, plus the District of Columbia.

Other states likely to be affected by circuit court rulings include Alaska, Arizona, Montana and Wyoming.

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