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Sex Stories

By Kait Scalisi, MPH

The news was alight this week with on-again, off-again reports of states approving same-sex marriage following a U.S. Supreme Court decision on Monday.

First, SCOTUS refused to hear challenges to lower courts’ rulings that uphold the right to same-sex marriage in five states: Wisconsin, Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, and Virginia. This refusal meant that the lower courts’ decision to allow same-sex marriage held, and such couples could begin marrying. Additionally, six other states fall under the jurisdiction of these lower courts. This means same-sex marriage may soon be coming to Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Because the lower court’s ruling cover these additional six states, confusion reigned. A South Carolina judge began accepting applications for marriage licenses. The state’s Supreme Court quickly put an end to this, citing a desire to wait on an official ruling from a federal judge that strikes down the ban.

Kansas followed South Carolina’s initial lead, and same-sex couples in at least one Kansas county can now receive marriage licenses. Because Kansas does not have residency requirements for licenses, however, same-sex couples outside of the county can also travel there to obtain a marriage license.

In West Virginia, the governor and attorney general agreed to stop defending the state’s ban on same-sex marriages.

In North Carolina, the results were mixed. The attorney general agreed to not challenge removal of the state’s same-sex marriage ban. After a judge lifted delays in two cases challenging the state’s ban, two legislative leaders filed a motion that would delay or block removal of the ban.

Wyoming’s governor kept things simple and re-voiced his dedication to upholding the state’s ban.

Most confusing, however, was how SCOTUS’ decision affects Idaho and Nevada. Same-sex marriage bans in these states were struck down by an appellate court shortly after SCOTUS’ decision. However, Idaho soon filed a request for an appeal to this decision and SCOTUS agreed to review it. This blocked same-sex marriages from starting there. However, Idaho mistakenly included both its and Nevada’s case number in their request, which meant same-sex marriages in the latter state also got blocked. This was a complete accident, as Nevada had no plans to challenge the appellate court’s decision to allow same-sex marriages.

On a final note, and to make things even more interesting, a decision on challenges to same-sex marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee is still being debated by the appellate court. There is no timeline for when this ruling will be released, and the decision will likely cause equal amounts of chaos.

Other Sexual Health News This Week

The National Association of County and City Health Officials’ launched the first module in its PrEP and Local Health Departments educational series.

Virginia Tech University Adds Gender Identity Protections (Think Progress)

Half of Patients with HIV Not Screened Regularly for HCV (Healio)

Va. Campus Sexual Assault Task Force Meets (Washington Post)

Ann Arbor Calls on State to Add Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity to Anti-Discrimination Law (MLive)

Important Dates

International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health 2015 Meeting, October 30.

CatalystCon East, November 4.

Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) 2015 Conference, November 5.

Southern HIV and Alcohol Research Consortium, November 7.