John M. Becker

Marriage Is Back in Nevada; North Carolina Still Fighting

Filed By John M. Becker | October 09, 2014 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: gay marriage, marriage equality, Nevada, North Carolina, same-sex marriage, West Virginia

on-off-switch.jpgThe on-again, off-again confusion around same-gender marriage in Nevada over the past few days seems to be coming to an end.

According to the Associated Press, the so-called "Coalition for the Protection of Marriage" -- an anti-gay conservative group that had been defending marriage discrimination in Nevada -- is dropping its appeals to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. The group's lawyer, Monte Stewart, won't say why, but whatever the reason, there is no longer any formal legal opposition to marriage equality in the Silver State.

In a press release from Lambda Legal, staff attorney Tara Borelli says this clears the way for the freedom to marry:

"Finally, the confusion has ended and the Ninth Circuit's decision is final and fully in effect. While the trial court will enter an order in the case finalizing relief, nothing prevents marriages from beginning immediately for same-sex couples in Nevada."

North Carolina, though, is still fighting. Details after the break.

In a desperate Hail-Mary bid to stop the arrival of marriage equality, Republican leaders in North Carolina have hired National Organization for Marriage Discrimination chair John Eastman to defend their state's doomed marriage exclusion laws. Smell the desperation (via the Charlotte Observer):

A California legal expert hired by North Carolina's legislature to lead the state's defense of its same-sex marriage ban promised Thursday to take the fight back to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

John Eastman, a former Republican candidate for attorney general in California and the former dean of the Chapman University School of Law, said North Carolina's gay marriage cases remain wide open, despite a Supreme Court action this week that seemed to set the table for marriage bans to be struck down in the Carolinas and other states.

On Monday, the Supreme Court announced that it would not review lower-court decisions in five states that found marriage laws unconstitutional. One of those states is Virginia, a member of the 4th Judicial Circuit along with the Carolinas, West Virginia and Maryland. Being in the same judicial circuit means opinion takes precedence in the Carolinas, too.

With legal experts saying North Carolina's laws are almost certain to be overturned, Tillis and Berger, the state's top two legislative leaders, announced this week that they wanted to get involved in the cases before rulings are made.

Republican Governor Pat McCrory said earlier this week that while he disagrees with court decisions effectively legalizing marriage equality in the Fourth Circuit, appealing them further seems fruitless. Roy Cooper, the state's Democratic Attorney General, said the Virginia ruling clearly applies to North Carolina as well. Cooper stopped defending the state's marriage discrimination amendment in July.

Meanwhile, over in West Virginia (at the other end of the Fourth Circuit), some counties have already begun issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples:

Zoom zoom!

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