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Update: it turns out the stay was much ado about nothing. The stay was lifted Wednesday afternoon. More on the order, and the two sides' arguments, can be found at FindLaw's Courtside.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor has just issued a stay blocking same-sex marriages in Kansas, right around the time a district court's ruling striking down the state's ban on gay marriages was about to take effect. The order is a surprise, considering that since the Court declined to take on gay marriage earlier this term, it has refused to issue stays in numerous other same-sex marriage appeals.

We have to imagine that the plaintiffs' lawyers feel like the witch who got crushed by Dorothy's house in Oz, as this came out of nowhere. What gives? And what else is odd about this SCOTUS stay?

This is cute. The Kansas Supreme Court actually thinks that it might have a say in gay marriage.

That may seem harsh, but you probably already know about the Tenth Circuit's holdings in the Utah and Oklahoma cases. And you probably already know that the U.S. Supreme Court declined to disturb those holdings.

Gay marriage is legal in the Tenth Circuit.

So why is the Kansas Supreme Court hearing oral arguments this week (which you can attend in person -- arrive early!)?

Do state officials have the right to decline to defend their state's laws? As we noted before, it is not an easy question. But University of Denver law professor (and rabbi) Kris McDaniel-Miccio, who is a plaintiff in one of the lawsuits challenging her state's gay marriage ban, disagrees: She penned an open letter to Colorado Attorney General John Suthers arguing that it is his duty to not defend the law.

Why? When he was sworn into office, Suthers pledged to uphold the laws and the constitutions of the United States and Colorado. With more than two dozen courts unanimously siding with marriage equality, including the Tenth (twice) and Fourth circuits, McDaniel-Miccio argues that the federal question is settled and that Suthers is not fulfilling the duties of his job by pressing forward.

Previously, Suthers stated that he was only reluctantly defending Colorado's Amendment 43, again, as a matter of duty, and despite his disagreement with the law.

Waiting for action on the Colorado gay marriage battle front? We have good news and bad news.

The good news is this: There have been three major court decisions in the last month addressing Colorado's ban. However, the bad news is that nothing is finalized just yet -- pretty much everything is on hold pending review from higher courts.

A federal court ruled against the state ban earlier this week, as did a state court earlier this month, but both decisions are on hold pending appeal. We've also talked about the rogue clerk who was defying the state's ban by issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She's still at it, but other clerks have been ordered to stop.

Okay, this is no surprise after Kitchen v. Herbert, the Utah gay marriage case that was argued at the same time as this appeal out of Oklahoma. But still, it's yet another chapter in the long battle for marriage equality, and the second federal circuit court of appeals ruling, both from the Tenth Circuit, to explicitly rule in favor of gay marriage.

Congrats, Oklahoma. Like it or not, you're second, and if we were putting bets on it, we'd guess you're headed for the Supreme Court, just like Utah is (and others will be).

We didn't think the battle for same-sex marriage could get any more odd than what transpired in Oregon: nobody but an openly gay judge argued in favor of that state's ban, at least until that same judge ruled against it a short time later, after noting that he had no plans to get married.

This might be close. In Boulder, Colorado, County Clerk Hillary Hall decided to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, even though that state's ban still stands. She did so after the Tenth Circuit ruled against a neighboring state, Utah, overturning that state's substantively similar ban. Interestingly enough, the Tenth Circuit also issued a stay in that case -- meaning marriage licenses still aren't being issued in Utah, though they are in Boulder, Colorado.

While everyone's eyes were on the Supreme Court, and the last few days of its term, the Tenth Circuit just dropped an opinion that is just as important, if not more so, than the High Court's slate of cases: it just ruled that Utah's ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional.

The court's ruling is the first to come from one of our nation's appellate courts*, and should impact the states of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming.

The big day is here. The first federal appellate case post-Windsor made its way through oral arguments this morning, and it was not without its own wave of drama.

Even before the arguments began, Utah officials backtracked on authority used in their briefs. Then, in oral arguments, the panel seemed to be deeply divided, with two judges sticking to their predicted ideological lines, and a third serving as the wildcard.

As the first of a coming wave of same-sex marriage appeals in this circuit, and many other circuit courts of appeal, this case is important as authority for the remaining cases, as well as a possible vehicle for a Supreme Court appeal.

O.K. Oklahoma -- U.S. District Judge Terence C. Kern overturned the state's gay marriage ban. However, Judge Kern is staying his decision pending appeal, according to The Washington Post.

Judge Kern's opinion in Bishop v. United States deals with "Part A" of the Oklahoma amendment. He used the rational basis test to determine that the ban is unconstitutional -- much to the chagrin of some Oklahoma politicians.

Oh, the good ol' Tenth Circuit. For a circuit that covers a geographically large portion of the United States, the case law coming out of there can sometimes not be as compelling as circuits with cities like New York or San Francisco. But, that doesn't mean all Tenth Circuit cases are folly. In fact, when they mean business, they get the whole country's attention.

Tenth Circuit in the News

With Utah's large Mormon population, we suppose it was just a matter of time before a polygamy case was heard. And just in time for the end of 2013, Judge Waddoups of the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah struck down Utah's bigamy statutes' cohabitation provision as unconstitutional.