November 13, 2013
The challenge to Hawaii’s same-sex marriage ban (Jackson v. Abercrombie) was appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals around the same time as the similar challenge in Nevada (Sevcik v. Sandoval). In both cases, the district court judges issued rulings against same-sex couples, and the Ninth Circuit initially put the cases on a parallel track, with similar briefing schedules. With Hawaii’s state legislature taking up a marriage equality bill, the plaintiffs in Jackson asked the appeals court for an extension of time. Governor Abercrombie filed his opening brief last month.
The plaintiffs in the Hawaii case have filed a new request for an extension of time to file their opening brief: from November 22 to December 22. The new unopposed request comes because, as the filing states, “the new [marriage equality] law will take effect on December 2, 2013,” and unless the law is somehow not put into effect, “the current appeal will likely be rendered moot.”
The plaintiffs in Sevcik, the Nevada case, filed their opening brief in mid-October. However, Governor Sandoval and the Coalition for the Protection of Marriage (the anti-gay marriage amendment’s sponsors who intervened to defend the law along with the governor) have filed separate requests for an extension of time to file their answer briefs. The requests were granted and their briefs will be filed on December 18.
Even if the Hawaii case were rendered moot by the new law, the Ninth Circuit would still hear the challenge to Nevada’s anti-gay marriage amendment.
Thanks to Kathleen Perrin for these filings