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Justice Kennedy Blocks Gay Marriage Ruling


Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on Wednesday temporarily blocked an appeals court ruling that declared gay marriage legal in Idaho and Nevada.

Kennedy's order came a little more than an hour after Idaho filed an emergency request for an immediate stay. It came about 10 minutes before the state said that state and county officials would be required to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The order also applies to Nevada, where marriage licenses to same-sex couples were going be issued later Wednesday.

Experts say the full court almost certainly would weigh in to extend the delay much beyond the weekend.

That has been the justices' practice in other cases in which a single justice initially blocked a ruling from taking effect.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco declared gay marriage legal in Idaho and Nevada on Tuesday.

A day earlier, the Supreme Court let similar rulings from three other appeals courts become final, effectively raised to 30 the number of states where same-sex couples can marry, or soon will be able to do so.

Meanwhile, a South Carolina court has issued a marriage license to a same-sex couple, despite the state's constitutional ban against the practice as well as the attorney general's pledge to defend it.

Charleston County Probate Judge Irvin Condon issued the license Wednesday morning to two women: Charleston County Councilwoman Colleen Condon and Nichols Bleckley.

The move comes a few days after the U.S. Supreme Court turned down an appeal of a federal court ruling allowing same-sex marriage in South Carolina.

Condon said in a statement that, as a result, his court is required to accept and issue marriage licenses.

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