On Monday, March 2, U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon ruled Nebraska's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. State officials in Nebraska immediately filed an appeal with the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, and Bataillon denied a request by the sate to stay his decision pending that appeal. This means that on Monday, March 9, same-sex couples will be able to start getting married in the state of Nebraska.
Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, released the following statement in regards to the decision: "Every day that loving and committed couples are denied the freedom to marry in the decreasing number of states that still discriminate against same-sex couples and their families is a day of tangible hardships and indignity. Fortunately, Nebraska may soon no longer be one of those discriminating states, thanks to today's strong ruling from yet another court — the 65th in the past two years — affirming the freedom to marry. It is time for the U.S. Supreme Court to bring the country to national resolution and end marriage discrimination for all Americans.”
In what will no doubt be a historic ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether states are allowed to ban gay marriage or whether same-sex couples have the constitutional right to marry, hearing oral arguments in April and delivering a ruling by June. On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court, in its first rulings on gay marriage, rejected parts of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, ruling that legally married same-sex couples are entitled to the same federal benefits as their straight counterparts. Here's hoping that they finish that good work come June.
With Nebraska no longer counted among them, there are 12 remaining states with bans on same-sex marriage: Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Ohio and Tennessee.
Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson filed a motion on Tuesday, March 3 with the 8th Circuit Court asking for an emergency stay on Judge Bataillon's ruling. The 8th Circuit is expected to decide by Monday, March 9 whether or not to grant the emergency stay.