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Nebraska’s same-sex marriage ban struck down by district judge

In a lawsuit filed by seven same-sex couples challenging Nebraska’s gay marriage ban, Nebraska district judge Joseph Bataillon sided with the plaintiffs, making same-sex marriage legal in the state of Nebraska. The ruling will be effective in one week.

But the cheers from same-sex couples turned to cautious optimism 55 minutes after the ruling when Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson filed an appeal to the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

Bataillon’s ruling stated that beginning on Mondat, March 9, “it is ordered that all relevant state officials are ordered to treat same-sex couples the same as different sex couples in the context of processing a marriage license or determining the rights, protections, obligations or benefits of marriage.”

However, Nebraska residents voted in 2000 not to recognize same-sex marriage or civil unions, and state officials have asked Bataillon to put the ruling on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court makes their decisions regarding the issue, likely in June.

“The definition of marriage is an issue for the people of Nebraska, and an activist judge should not substitute his personal political preferences for the will of the people,” Governor Pete Ricketts said in a statement.

According to Newsweek, the state said in February that if the judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, the state would seek a stay that would put the date on hold. The appeals court could grant the state’s request, temporarily pushing back the day the same-sex ruling would go into effect, or let Bataillon’s ruling stand.

The Nebraska Catholic Conference issued a statement saying, “we are disappointed that Judge Joseph Bataillon granted an injunction today that presumes to nullify what God has written on human hearts since the beginning of time – that marriage is between a man and a woman, and has as one of its principal purposes the procreation and rearing of children.”

The ACLU, who backed the seven couples who filed the original challenge to the ban, said in a statement that “today is a day for celebration. The love and commitment our clients share will finally be entitled to equality and respect in the eyes of the law.”

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