BOISE -- This week has brought a lot of push and pull on the state's gay marriage ban. On Thursday, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals responded to a state request and issued a temporary stay, which for the time being, halts same-sex weddings while other court matters are considered.
On Tuesday, a federal district judge in Idaho ruled to overturn the state's ban, which would have allowed same-sex marriagesto begin Friday morning.
The governor and Idaho attorney general appealed the judge's initial decision immediately and tried to get what's called a stay right away, basically asking for the ban to remain as is until the appeal is heard in court.
Initially, the district judge in Idaho would not issue a stay; however, on Thursday, the appeals court decided to sign an order stopping the initial judgement until the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals considers the state's motion for a formal emergency stay.
Essentially, the court is pressing pause on the court's order while it decides whether to allow same-sex marriages to go forward while the appeal is heard. Appeals can take months or even years. A Ninth Circuit judge told KTVB earlier this year that their average case takes 1.8 years.
Attorney General Lawrence Wasden believes the court did the right thing so that there isn't the possibility of marriages happening during one time period that could be taken back if the state's appeal is successful.
It certainly will help because the court has said, hold on, time out, we're just going to hold on for a moment or two. Now we don't know how long this temporary stay will be in effect, Wasden said.
Gov. Butch Otter also agreed the temporary stay helps minimize confusion.
I also see it more hopeful, having more time, so that we don't have a single magistrate federal judge overturning our Constitution in the state of Idaho. The people voted overwhelmingly in 2006 to define marriage in our Constitution... as one man and one woman, Otter said.
Otter says the cost of defending the state's gay marriage ban in this case has been under $10,000 as of Thursday morning.
We had $2,000 that we had spent on this case so far. Because we had to get an outside attorney after the stay was refused here locally, but we set a limit on that of $10,000. So far we haven't spent over $10,000, Otter said.
The temporary stay could be dismissed at any time. It is likely to be resolved once the Ninth Circuit rules on the state's motion for an emergency motion for a stay pending appeal. The state says it's preparing as though that may happen and same-sex marriages could suddenly go ahead.