Justice Anthony Kennedy issued an order to halt same-sex marriage in Idaho — and apparently also Nevada — on Wednesday after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the states’ bans one day earlier.
Kennedy, who has jurisdiction over emergency appeals to rulings at the 9th Circuit, ordered that the lawyers for the same-sex couples suing to ax the ban respond to Idaho’s appeal by Thursday, Oct. 9 by 5 p.m.
Although Idaho asked for the injunction, Kennedy’s order also halts the 9th Circuit ruling against Nevada’s gay marriage ban — the two cases were consolidated.
The move comes after the Supreme Court declined on Monday to hear seven cases about the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans, instead letting several lower court rulings against them take effect.
Kennedy’s move on Wednesday doesn’t necessarily mean the Court has had a change of heart and decided to review the issue. It’s possible he’s merely letting the process play out by giving Idaho a chance to appeal to the Supreme Court, and the gay couples a chance to respond, before the justices decide whether to take the case.
In the Idaho case, a lower court had knocked down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, and the 9th Circuit affirmed the ruling. In the Nevada case, a lower court had upheld the ban on same-sex marriage in 2012 (before the Supreme Court’s Windsor v. U.S. decision), and the 9th Circuit reversed it. The 9th Circuit ruling Tuesday paved the way for the bans to be lifted in Idaho and Nevada, but Kennedy’s order on Wednesday halts the 9th Circuit ruling in both states.
This article has been updated.