Exactly when that may be remained in a murky morass of judicial orders issued Wednesday in wake of the 9th Circuit’s decision on Tuesday striking down gay marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada.
First, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an order staying the lower court’s opinion and putting same sex marriage on hold in the two states. Then, the U.S. Supreme Court issued another opinion lifting the stay in Nevada. That appeared to put same sex marriage back on track in the Silver State.
But the Coalition to Protect Marriage filed an application for a stay in Nevada, prompting the 9th Circuit to order Gov. Brian Sandoval and the couples who filed the original lawsuit to respond to that request by 5 p.m. Thursday.
Meanwhile, the district attorneys in Nevada awaited an injunction against the gay marriage ban from the federal district court, which would free the county clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.
“At the end of the day, the ultimate effect remains the same,” Deputy District Attorney David Watts-Vial said. “The clerk can’t start issuing any same sex marriage licenses until an injunction comes out of the district court.”
When that might arrive is unclear because of the Coalition to Protect Marriage’s request for a stay.
“We’ve got orders coming in from three different courts,” Watts-Vial said. “Things are coming in so fast. We’re trying to keep track of everything here.”
In another wrinkle, the original judge, Reno Judge Robert C. Jones recused himself from the case, refusing to issue the injunction mandated by the 9th Circuit. Judge James Mahan will take up the case.
Amid the frenetic legal action, Anita Herrera-Perez and her partner Regena Perez arrived at the Washoe County Clerk’s Office and requested a license. They were the first same sex couple to arrive in person to request a license in Washoe County.
Parent delivered the bad news that she couldn’t issue the license.
The couple took the news in stride.
“”We are willing to wait,” Herrera-Perez said. “We’ve been together 23 years and are hoping to have our marriage recognized here.”
The couple was married in California in 2008 during a brief window when marriages were legal there. That marriage isn’t recognized in Nevada.
“It’s about equality,” Perez said. “We felt equal for seven days and then it was snatched away.”
Herrera-Perez said the couple joked about traveling from state to state for multiple ceremonies where same sex marriage is legal.
“It would be a road trip,” she said.