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BOISE -- A federal appeals court has temporarily put plans for Idaho same-sex weddings on hold while it considers the state's request for a longer stay.

The state's gay marriage ban was overturned Tuesday when U.S. District Judge Candy Dale said the law unconstitutionally denied gay and lesbian residents their fundamental right to marry. Dale said Idaho must begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples starting Friday morning.

But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday put the weddings on hold while it considers a request for a longer stay while the governor and attorney general appeal the case.

Gov. C.L. Butch Otter issued this statement Thursday afternoon:

I appreciate the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stepping in to ensure Idaho will not have to endure the same kind of chaos and confusion that Utah faced after a similar lower-court decision. Today s ruling stays the federal magistrate s order and maintains the status of marriage as defined by the Idaho Constitution between one man and one woman. Meanwhile, I am proceeding with an aggressive challenge in the appellate court. I m hopeful for a better outcome, but in any event I am committed to defending our Constitution and the will of Idaho voters.

The four couples who sued to get Idaho's ban overturned had asked the court to allow the weddings to begin.

Gay marriage is legal in 17 states and the District of Columbia.

BACKGROUND & BREAKDOWN

So, what's next and, how exactly did a court stop gay marriages from happening in Idaho, less than a day from when we thought we might see that legalized?

This all started right here in Idaho when four lesbian couples believed their Constitutional rights were being infringed on, by the state not allowing them to marry here.

They brought suit against the state, which went to federal, not county court, because there was a possible violation of Constitutional Rights.

A judge in that district court in Idaho made her ruling, which would have made same-sex marriage legal in Idaho, but the state appealed the decision to a higher court, which is the 9th Circuit Court, which includes nine western states.

The court higher than that, is the U.S. Supreme Court.

The state asked the drict court to hold off on allowing their decision to go into effect, until an appeal was finished.

The district court judge denied that, but the 9th Circuit issued a temporary stay of this decision going into effect, while they consider the motion by the state for same-sex marriages to be put on hold while they consider the state's appeal. Essentially, they're holding off while they decide if they're going to hold off.

So, if the 9th Circuit allows same-sex marriages to happen while they consider the appeal, the state would then appeal that decision to the U-S Supreme Court. If not, there would continue to be no same-sex marriages during the appeal process.

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