Utah AG’s Office delays appeal to U.S. Supreme Court on gay marriage

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SALT LAKE CITY — A spokesman for the Utah Attorney General’s Office told FOX 13 the office is not expected to file an emergency request with the U.S. Supreme Court to halt same-sex marriage licenses from being issued “for a few days.”

The state had said Tuesday it would file a request with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, after the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver rejected the request. On Thursday, attorney general’s spokesman Ryan Bruckman said the office was coordinating with outside counsel before proceeding.

“The attorney general’s office is working to prepare the appeal to the Supreme Court on the 10th Circuit’s denial of a stay. Due to the necessity of coordination with outside counsel the filing of the appeal may be delayed for a few days,” he told FOX 13’s Ben Winslow. “It is the intent of the AG’s office to file with the Supreme Court as soon as possible.”

The delay means that same-sex marriages would continue to be performed in Utah until the nation’s top court decides. Justice Sotomayor, who oversees the 10th Circuit and Utah federal courts, could either grant or deny the stay, or she could ask the entire U.S. Supreme Court to decide the issue.

An appeal of U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby’s ruling that declared Amendment 3 unconstitutional is still pending in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. If the Supreme Court denies Utah’s request to halt same-sex marriage licenses from being issued, those marriages would continue to happen throughout the appeals process — which could be decided by 2015.

As of Thursday morning, all of Utah’s 29 counties were issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples — with the exception of tiny Piute County, which was issuing no licenses to any couple, gay or straight.

The county clerk is on vacation, commissioners said.


  • Dan

    When will the Utah governor get a clue that there is no chance the state will prevail on appeal? When a stay is not granted it is a clear indication that the court does not think they have a chance. I’m sure the governors of Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma are pleading with him to stand down. The governor of Colorado, who supports equal rights for gays and marriage equality, is probably urging him on. All those states will gain equality if the lower court decision stands on appeal. New Mexico already has equality.

  • The Earplug (@The_earplug)

    I think they must realize on some level that, given the initial ruling and the half-dozen denials of their various requests for a stay, they’ve not only put up a poor fight legally speaking but also painted themselves into a corner by doing so. Damned if they do go ahead (and inadvertently become partially responsible for SSM being legal on a larger scale) and damned if they don’t. In other words, they’ve not only screwed the pooch, they might as well marry it….

  • Athena

    I’m frustrated by the excuse of “the people voted for this law.” The people voted for that law nearly 10 years ago. Many people that are registered voters now weren’t then due to coming of age as well as new residents in the last ten years, myself in that category. I also fail to see how marriage can be considered a ‘social issue’ and not a legal one when federal law grants legal benefits on income tax filing and health insurance to legally married couples to name only a few examples.

    I’m also disappointed by Gov. Herbert’s comments towards Judge Shelby referring to him as an “activist judge.” I feel it was very immature on his part and a knee jerk reaction. Nor do I like the implication that being an activist is a bad thing, being likened to being a communist. Jesus was an activist for equality and human rights. The bible is clear on that. Perhaps the LDS church should reread the good book.

  • Judy Dehaven

    It is very possible the legal team will request a stay and ask the Supreme Court to take the case directly.

    The justices have all stated that the states determine their marriage laws and it is a good bet they will take this case and end all the other suits bogging down the system.

  • Michael Senesac

    “The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver rejected the request.”

    So according to Brian Brown from the National Organization for Marriage. “I don’t know what part of NO don’t they get.” Watch it here:

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