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Alaska wants 11-judge panel of federal appeals court judges to review gay marriage ruling

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The state of Alaska is seeking to have an 11-judge panel of the federal appeals court for the West review a lower court's ruling that struck down gay marriage.

The state on Wednesday filed its case with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Burgess ruled Oct. 12 that the state's ban on gay marriage approved by voters in 1998 violated the due process and equal protection provisions of the U.S. Constitution.

The state maintains in its filing that that was an incorrect interpretation.

The state served notice it would appeal, and asked the 9th Circuit Court to halt same-sex marriages while the appeal process went forward. A three-judge panel allowed a temporary stay to give the state time to ask the U.S. Supreme Court for a permanent halt to marriages through the appeal process.

The nation's highest court denied the state's request in a one-sentence ruling last Friday, and couples began marrying Monday.

The state is asking the court to look at this separately from its decision that overturned gay marriage in Idaho and Nevada. Idaho filed its own request for an 11-judge review Tuesday, the Alaska Dispatch News reported (http://is.gd/X6OXUD).

A majority of the appeal court's 29 justices would have to agree to hear Alaska's case. If that's granted, an 11-judge panel instead of the court's normal three-judge panel would hear the case.

It wasn't immediately clear when the court would rule on the state's request.


Information from: Alaska Dispatch News, http://www.adn.com

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