[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Wednesday denied [order, PDF] a request to block same-sex marriage in Oregon pending an appeal in the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website], which is currently hearing several cases [materials] on the same issue. The application for stay was presented to Justice Anthony Kennedy and referred by him to the entire court. The denial was one sentence long and provided no explanation for the decision. The state ban on same-sex marriage was successfully challenged earlier this year when the state government refused to appeal [JURIST report] a lower court order nullifying the ban. The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) [advocacy website] attempted to intervene to defend the ban, but the state and federal courts refused [JURIST news archive] to allow the untimely intervention. NOM appealed to the Ninth Circuit, and then for a stay to the Supreme Court when the Ninth Circuit did not entertain its arguments. Oregon is now the nineteenth state to recognize same-sex marriage.
Same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] is one of the most controversial topics facing the legal community in America today. In May six couples filed a federal lawsuit [JURIST report] challenging South Dakota's ban on same-sex marriage. That same day the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana filed a complaint [JURIST report] reviving a challenge to the state's same-sex marriage ban that was dismissed in December 2012. Also in May a judge for Arkansas' Pulaski County Circuit Court ruled [JURIST report] that the state ban on court clerks issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples is unconstitutional. Earlier last month five same-sex couples challenged [JURIST report] Alaska's constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.