A federal judge on Monday ruled Nebraska’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional in a decision that could allow same-sex couples to marry in the state within a week.
U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon issued a preliminary injunction in the case brought by seven same-sex couples in the state, calling Nebraska’s ban an “unabashedly gender-specific infringement of the equal rights of its citizens.”
Bataillon denied a state request to stay his decision but said his injunction would take effect on March 9 to assuage Nebraska officials’ concerns of possible administrative turmoil.
Nebraska state officials quickly appealed the ruling to the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
“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.
Nebraska voters in 2000 adopted a state constitutional amendment that defines marriage as only between one man and one woman and does not recognize civil unions, domestic partnerships or similar relationships for same-sex couples.
Stage 4 Breast Cancer
The plaintiffs include Sally Waters, who has stage four breast cancer that has spread and wants Nebraska to recognize her 2008 marriage to Susan Waters in California in part to provide critical financial protections for their children.
Stage 4 breast cancer means that the cancer has spread to other areas of the body, such as the brain, bones, lung and liver.
Although Stage 4 breast cancer is considered incurable, current advances in research and medical technology mean that more and more women are living longer by treating the disease as a chronic condition. With excellent care and support, as well as personal motivation, Stage 4 breast cancer may respond to a number of treatment options that can extend your life for several years.
Dear Sally: (and your future wife, Susan)
I know you have excellent care and support and now the possibility of marriage to Susan, which is a gift of healing to you both. You have the motivation! You both have had the courage to fight for the right to love within marriage. We are behind you with prayers and good vibrations heading your way. You are both remarkable women and a great example to your children and to the gay and straight community. paula.