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Same-sex marriage clears court hurdles in Idaho, North Carolina

Same-sex marriage clears court hurdles in Idaho, North Carolina
Rachael Beierle calls family to tell them she and Amber Beierle, right, would not be able to get married Wednesday in Boise after an order from Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy temporarily put same-sex marriages on hold in Idaho. The order was vacated Friday. (Otto Kitsinger / Associated Press)

The Supreme Court cleared the way Friday for gay marriages to begin in Idaho by lifting a temporary order from earlier this week.

The justices turned down an appeal from Idaho's governor seeking to block same-sex marriages there. An earlier temporary order from Justice Anthony Kennedy was vacated.

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Meanwhile, in North Carolina, a federal District Court judge ruled that state's ban on gay marriages unconstitutional. Officials in Asheville planned to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples immediately.

The court's action in Idaho culminates a week in which the justices stood back and allowed same-sex marriage to become legal in most of the nation.

On Monday, the court turned down appeals from five states where federal appeals courts ruled gays and lesbians had a constitutional right to marry. These appellate courts -- in Denver, Chicago and Richmond, Va. -- said Americans have a right to marry, and the states had no convincing reason for excluding gay couples.

A day later, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco struck down the bans on same-sex marriage in Idaho and Nevada and said discrimination against gays and lesbians is nearly always unconstitutional.

Idaho's Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter filed an emergency appeal asking Justice Anthony Kennedy, who oversees the 9th Circuit, to put the ruling on hold while the state appealed. Kennedy did so in a brief order.

To keep gay marriages on hold, Idaho's attorneys had to argue there was a strong likelihood the full court would hear their appeal and ultimately reverse the 9th Circuit.

Neither claim seemed plausible after Monday's announcement.

On Twitter: @DavidGSavage

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