October 16, 2014 / 8:40 PM / 5 years ago

Alaska asks U.S. top court to block gay marriage

Jim Derrick (L) and Alfie Travassos (R) exchange rings as they get married at the Salt Lake County Government Complex in Salt Lake City, Utah, October 6, 2014. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Officials in Alaska on Thursday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block gay marriage in the state.

The long-shot request was filed with Justice Anthony Kennedy, who handles emergency applications to the court from the western U.S. states.

The move came after a federal judge ruled on Sunday that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, approved by voters in 1998, was unconstitutional. The ruling is not due to go into effect until Friday at noon Pacific Time.

The court’s decision was in line with a related ruling last week by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the regional appeals court for Alaska. The appeals court struck down gay marriage bans in Idaho and Nevada.

The Supreme Court has already rejected an emergency application seeking to block the Idaho ruling.

Last week, the high court also declined to hear seven gay marriage cases. By leaving intact three regional appeals court rulings that struck down bans, the court paved the way for gay marriage in a series of states. There are now 29 states in which gay marriage is legal, up from 19 before the Supreme Court’s action, with more bans expected to fall in coming weeks.

Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Cynthia Osterman

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