Nebraska's gay marriage ban struck down; ruling effective March 9

Tue. March 3, 2015 9:11 AM by

A federal judge on Monday struck down Nebraska's ban on gay marriage.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon heard arguments in the case last week and promised a ruling "expeditiously."

"[A]ll relevant state officials are ordered to treat same-sex couples the same as different sex couples in the context of processing a marriage license or determining the rights, protections, obligations or benefits of marriage," he wrote.

Bataillon stayed his ruling until March 9 at 8 AM. Officials are expected to ask the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis for an indefinite stay on the ruling as they pursue an appeal.

In his order, Bataillon called the state's 2000 voter-approved constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples an "unequal provision" and an "unabashedly gender-specific infringement of the equal rights of its citizens."

Danielle Conrad, executive director of the Nebraska chapter of the ACLU, applauded the ruling.

"Today is a day for celebration," she said in a statement. "The love and commitment our clients share will finally be entitled to equality and respect in the eyes of the law. Today, Nebraska's motto of 'equality before the law' rings true for gay and lesbian Nebraskans who seek to have their marriages recognized or who seek the freedom to marry right here in our great state."

Gay couples can currently marry in 37 states, plus the District of Columbia.

(Related: Roughly 50 clergy in Nebraska pledge to marry gay couples if ban struck down.)

(Brief provided by Equality Case Files.)

Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine