Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell appeals ruling striking down state's gay marriage ban

Tue. October 14, 2014 11:53 AM by Carlos Santoscoy

Juneau, Alaska - Alaska Governor Sean Parnell, a Republican, on Monday appealed a ruling striking down the state's ban on gay marriage.

In 1998, Alaska became one of the first states to amend its constitution through a public vote to define marriage as a heterosexual union.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Burgess struck down the ban on Sunday, saying it violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Parnell immediate put out a statement saying he had a duty to appeal the decision.

Burgess heard oral arguments in the case on Friday, three days after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco struck down similar bans in Idaho and Nevada. The ruling affects all states within the court's jurisdiction, including Alaska, Arizona and Montana.

Parnell's lawyers asked Burgess to set aside his ruling pending an en banc appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. An en banc appeals involves the court's complete slate of judges, skipping the customary 3-judge panel.

"In addition, opinions on the subject of this litigation are expected to be issued promptly from the Fifth and Sixth Circuits creating a reasonable likelihood that a split among the circuits could arise as a result of upcoming rulings, and that the Supreme Court will take up one of these decisions on certiorari," the brief states.

Several gay couples on Monday were issued marriage licenses. But the state has a 3-day waiting period, meaning couples have yet to exchange vows.

Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine