Nevada gay marriage opponents file new appeal, claiming bias by 9th Circuit panel

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Theo Small and his partner, Antioco Carillo, became the first same-sex couple to to be issued a marriage license in Las Vegas. For gay couples in Nevada, the licenses ended long-felt frustration over days of legal wrangling. (Oct. 9)


Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on Wednesday temporarily blocked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that declared gay marriage legal in Idaho, and later issued an order clarifying that the weddings could begin in Nevada. (Oct. 8)

Photos:


Dayvin Bartolome, right, kisses his husband Daniel Carroll after they got married at the Vegas Weddings chapel Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014, in Las Vegas. Thursday was the first day same-sex marriages were allowed in Nevada. (AP Photo/John Locher)


Dayvin Bartolome, right, kisses his husband Daniel Carroll as they pose for their wedding photos at the Vegas Weddings chapel Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014, in Las Vegas. Thursday was the first day same-sex marriages were allowed in Nevada. (AP Photo/John Locher)


Sherwood Howard, left, embraces Nevada State Sen. Kelvin Atkinson as they get married outside of the Marriage License Bureau, Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014, in Las Vegas. The two had just obtained a same-sex marriage license and were the first same-sex couple married in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)


LAS VEGAS — Gay marriage opponents filed a request Monday asking the full 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to hear their case against same-sex unions in Nevada.

In documents calling the issue "a question of historic importance," the Coalition for the Protection of Marriage claimed bias by a three-judge panel of the court that last week struck down a 2002 Nevada constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage.

The coalition said a review before the full court is necessary because judges Stephen Reinhardt, Marsha Berzon and Ronald Gould were assigned to the case.

The group says Reinhardt and Berzon weren't randomly appointed to gay marriage cases from Nevada, Idaho and Hawaii and are "favorably disposed to arguments for expanding the rights of gay men and lesbians."

The appeals court was closed for the Columbus Day holiday, and a spokesman also didn't immediately respond to messages.

Tara Borelli, the Lamba Legal attorney who won the Nevada appeal on behalf of eight same-sex couples, called the allegation of improper judicial selection "unfounded, desperate and sad."

Borelli said arguments similar to those the coalition is making have been rejected by federal appeals courts elsewhere, and the coalition lacks standing to seek further review of the Nevada case.

"It's clear that there is no further controversy to resolve," Borelli said.

The 9th Circuit panel ruled Oct. 7 that same-sex wedding bans in Nevada and Idaho violated federal equal protection rights of gay couples. The court also issued an order making the ruling to effective immediately.

But same-sex couples in Nevada remained in limbo during a confusing series of on-again, off-again moves before the Coalition for the Protection of Marriage on Thursday withdrew its request for a court order to block the ruling.

County clerks in Nevada began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples Friday.

By Monday afternoon, more than 140 same-sex couples had obtained marriage licenses at the busy county clerk bureau in Las Vegas.

Coalition President Todd Larkin and attorney Monte Neil Stewart didn't immediately respond Monday to messages.

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