OMAHA, Nebraska — The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals today announced that it was merging gay-marriage cases from Arkansas, Missouri and South Dakota.
The appellate court set oral arguments during the week of May 11-15 in Omaha.
The clerk’s order reads (hyperlinks added by SDGLN):
The parties’ joint motion to expedite this appeal is granted. The parties shall observe the briefing schedule set forth at paragraph 11 of the motion: Appellant’s brief, addendum, and appendix due February 27, 2015; Appellees’ brief and addendum due March 19, 2015; Appellant’s reply brief due April 2, 2015. It is the court’s intention to set the three same-sex marriage cases (No. 14-3779 Lawson v. State of Missouri; No. 15-1022 Jernigan v. McDaniel; and No. 15-1186 Rosenbrahn v. Daugaard) for oral argument during the week of May 11-15, 2015 in Omaha, NE. The parties will be advised of the date and time of the arguments when the May calendar is established.
The decision by the Eighth Circuit comes on the heels of a request from South Dakota plaintiffs represented by Minneapolis attorney Josh Newville and South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley to expedite the appeals hearing of District Judge Karen Schreier’s ruling that struck down the state’s gay-marriage ban.
The Eighth Circuit is one of the nation’s most conservative appellate courts, and one of the last to take up the marriage issue. But it was also the first appellate court to rule against gay marriage, way back in 2006 when it upheld Nebraska’s ban on same-sex marriage.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court this term is taking up gay-marriage cases where the bans have been upheld in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. A ruling is expected in June.