Same-sex marriage advances in North Carolina and Idaho

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A federal judge in North Carolina has struck down the state’s gay marriage ban, opening the way for the first same-sex weddings in the state to begin immediately.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court issued an order Friday that appears to remove the last legal obstacle keeping gay and lesbian couples from getting married in Idaho.

U.S. District Court Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr., issued the North Carolina ruling Friday shortly after 5 p.m. declaring the ban approved by state voters in 2012 unconstitutional.

Buncombe County Register of Deeds Drew Reisinger kept his Asheville office open late to begin issuing marriage licenses to waiting couples.

The federal appeals court in San Francisco on Tuesday declared gay marriage bans illegal in Idaho and Nevada.

Justice Anthony Kennedy temporarily blocked same-sex weddings in Idaho a day later after the state asked for a delay. Idaho officials said county clerks would be forced to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples almost immediately without the high court’s intervention.

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