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Extensions Sought in Same-Sex Marriage Cases; Hawaii Likely Moot

By William Peacock, Esq. on November 13, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The twin challenges to Nevada and Hawaii's prohibitions on same-sex marriage took further steps towards diverting, and in Hawaii's case, derailing. Though the cases were initially put on parallel tracks by the Ninth Circuit, extensions were requested in both cases, postponing the resolution of the issue in both states.

In Hawaii's case, a prior extension was granted due to the state legislature's plan to address the issue. A second unopposed request was filed earlier this week, after Hawaii became the 15th state to allow same-sex marriage, Equality on Trial reports.

And though the Nevada case had moved forward in the meantime, with the plaintiffs filing their opening brief last month, the state's governor and another interested party each were granted extensions for responding until December 18.

Hawaii: Signed, Sealed, Delivered ... And Moot?

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage this morning, reports The Washington Post, making the Aloha State the 15th state to do so. That makes the case moot, right?

Pretty much, though the plaintiffs in the original case have merely asked for a second extension, just in case any last-minute political maneuvering changes things before the law takes effect in early December.

Nevada: Case Goes On

The Nevada news isn't particularly interesting. As we previously noted, the parties challenging the state's constitutional amendment, which prohibits gay marriage, filed their opening brief October 18.

Lambda Legal's argument seems to be a reverse-Windsor: While the landmark Supreme Court case culling part of the Defense of Marriage Act held that the federal government couldn't discriminate against state-recognized marriages (due to the state's traditional role in defining such institutions and due to a lack of any good reason justifying such restrictions), Lambda is arguing that because the federal government now recognizes same-sex marriages, states must do so as well.

The law's defenders, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and the Coalition for the Protection of Marriage, were each granted extensions. The case should move forward after the new due date: December 18.

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