Gov. Matt Mead announced Friday that he will not appeal a Wyoming federal judge's order issued in Casper earlier in the day that declared unconstitutional the state's definition of marriage.

That effectively removes remaining barriers to same-sex couples receiving marriage licenses, and allows already married same-sex couples from out of state to enjoy the same rights and responsibilities of other couples.

“While this is not the result I and others would have hoped, I recognize people have different points of view and I hope all citizens agree, we are bound by the law,” Mead said in a news release.

U.S. District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl issued the order granting a preliminary injunction demanded by four same-sex couples and the gay rights group Wyoming Equality to block the state from enforcing its definition of marriage as “between a male and female person.”

That definition, the plaintiffs argued, was a violation of the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the 14th Amendment.
And Skavdahl agreed. “Preventing the violation of a party’s constitutional rights is always in the public interest,” he wrote.
However, he also also granted a temporary stay of the injunction to permit the state to appeal the decision to the Denver-based 10th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals until 5 p.m. Thursday.

The news release from Mead's office said the Wyoming Attorney General reviewed the ruling and advised that an appeal probably would not succeed.

So the Attorney General will file notice with the court that the State will not appeal before that date.

Meanwhile, a lawsuit filed in state district court about same-sex marriage is still active and any decision by that court would not change the right of same-sex couples to marry, according to the news release.

“This (federal court ruling) is contrary to my personal beliefs and those of many others," Mead said in the news release. "As in all matters, I respect the role of the courts and the ruling of the Court.”

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