Attorney General Doug Peterson is pleased the 8th United States Circuit Court of Appeals has put on hold a federal judge’s ruling that struck down the state ban on same-sex marriage.
The appellate court stepped in, stopping the ruling by U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon from going into effect. Bataillon had found the Nebraska definition of marriage unconstitutional. Bataillon, though, delayed enforcement of his order until Monday.
Peterson says that delay gave the state time to appeal to the 8th Circuit.
“We’re encourage that the 8th Circuit did that,” Peterson tells Jack and Dave in the Morning on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN. “Frankly, when Judge Bataillon gave the seven-day delay on the order becoming effective that was, I guess, a courtesy by the court at that point to allow us to get to the 8th Circuit and seek a more formal stay.”
Peterson says he sought the delay to avoid chaos and confusion in Nebraska as the courts sort out the issue.
“So, I guess we were hopeful this would happen, because had it not occurred I think we would have had several different counties across the state issuing licenses and those licenses really would have been kind of in a state of limbo until we know what the Supreme Court is going to do,” Peterson says.
The 8th Circuit has scheduled oral arguments May 12th in Omaha in cases asking the court to strike down bans on same-sex marriage in South Dakota, Missouri, Arkansas, as well as Nebraska. The 8th Circuit, in 2007, upheld Nebraska’s law passed by a vote of the people in 2000.
Peterson questions whether the 8th Circuit will feel compelled to rule on the issue prior to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments on similar marriage laws in Tennessee, Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio for April 28th. The Supreme Court is expected to rule by the end of June.
“Will the 8th Circuit feel compelled to have to get an opinion out before the Supreme Court rules?” Peterson asks. “Actually, I don’t know what they’re motive would be, because once the Supreme Court rules it all becomes moot.”