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9th Circuit to Hear Gay Marriage Cases from Hawaii, Nevada, Idaho

Wayne Yoshioka
Wayne Yoshioka

Today, the 9th District Circuit Court will take up the issue of marriage equality. The San Francisco-based courtroom will hear oral arguments concerning a law banning same sex marriage in Hawai‘i. The appeal is from 2011, two years before the state legalized gay marriage during a special legislative session. The court will also consider marriage equality cases from Idaho and Nevada.

Carl Tobias is a professor at the University Of Richmond School Of Law in Virginia. He says the Hawai‘i case is unique because the state has changed the law…making it a situation lawyers refer to as “mootness.” 

Tobias says because the state has already passed legislation legalizing same sex marriage, the appeal could simply be dismissed, leaving the marriage equality law intact. Ultimately, Tobias said, the debate over same sex marriage may have to be settled by the Supreme Court.


Since last summer, 21 federal courts have weighed in on state same-sex marriage bans, and all but one has found them unconstitutional. Last week, 15 states that allow gay marriage – including Hawai‘i – filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to intervene.

The 9th Circuit's oral arguments begin at 1 pm PST. Stream them live here.

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