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SCOTUS Justice Sotomayor asks same-sex couples to weigh in on Utah’s marriage recognition stay request

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UPDATE: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has asked the ACLU to respond to Utah’s stay request by 10 a.m. Friday. The ACLU told FOX 13 it anticipated filing a response by the end of Thursday.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals set a Monday deadline for a decision on Utah’s request for a stay. If the U.S. Supreme Court doesn’t grant it, it is anticipated the state will have to recognize same-sex marriages performed in Utah after Amendment 3 was overturned.


SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Attorney General’s Office filed an emergency request with the U.S. Supreme Court over recognizing same-sex marriages performed here.

The request was sent late Wednesday to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who oversees the 10th Circuit Courts, of which Utah is part of. It asks her to grant their request for a stay, halting orders that the state be forced to recognize more than 1,200 same-sex marriages performed after Amendment 3 was overturned last year.

In the filing, special assistant attorney general Gene Schaerr refers to the marriages as “interim marriages” and writes that the nation’s top court is likely to take the Amendment 3 case and rule in Utah’s favor.

“Utah believes it is highly likely — and certainly likely enough to warrant a stay — that at least four Justices will vote to grant certiorari if the district court’s decision is affirmed, and that at least five Justices will agree with Judge Kelly that the district court’s sweeping legal conclusions ‘simply cannot be’ — and emphatically are not — ‘the law.’ Indeed, the district court’s misunderstanding of the legal status of a law subject to a non-final decision of unconstitutionality is so fundamentally erroneous, and arises in a context of such importance to all of the states and to this Court, that a summary reversal could well be in order,” he wrote.

Read the filing by the Utah Attorney General’s Office here:


More than 1,200 same-sex couples married after Amendment 3 was overturned by U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby in December 2013. The state went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to ask for a stay. It was granted after 17 days of marriages.

A detailed account of same-sex marriages performed in Utah's 29 counties during the 17-days it was allowed.

A detailed account of same-sex marriages performed in Utah’s 29 counties during the 17-days it was allowed.

After that, Governor Gary Herbert ordered state agencies not to recognize the marriages, nor provide benefits to the couples — such as adoptions and tax filings (although the Utah Tax Commission did allow married same-sex couples to file joint 2013 tax returns).

Four married same-sex couples and the ACLU sued. A federal judge ordered the state to recognize the marriages. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld that decision.

The federal appeals court also recently ruled that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The state is in the midst of preparing to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their appeal of that decision.


  • DJE

    As for HDTEX’s comments, Short, sweet and to the point, I could not agree more. There is no such thing in Utah as separation of church and state. the Utah governor, AG, and Mr Schaerr just can read the writing on the wall.

  • georgiaguy8 (@georgiaguy8)

    The Utah attorney general sounds so angry and vengeful, you have to ask if he practices his Christian beliefs on being kind to one another. No way does the U.S. Supreme Court uphold his view, but they are afraid to venture ahead. This despite polls nationally in favor of marriage equality. Support was only in the 30th percentile when 1967 Warren court ruled in favor of interracial marriages in 1967.

  • Arlee

    A CDC report was just released after an extensive anonymous nationwide survey. The report states that only 1.6% of those surveyed say they are homosexual. And those individuals say they smoke and drink 50% more than the general population. In Utah it is likely that less than 1/10th of 1% are homosexual and 99% of those who post on these stories live out of state. So please go back and hide under the rock where you live.

    • N Walker

      These are hateful and bigoted comments without a shred of authentic factual detail. It just shows how infected with homophobic bias some people are.

      • rich

        I fail to see what is so hateful with a CDC report that is in the news or anything Arlee wrote, Nothing like the a bigot calling someone else a bigot, right?

    • Jason P.

      What you conveniently failed to mention, Arlee, was that the survey also showed that the LGBT community is also more aerobically/physically fit and more up-to-date on their vaccinations than the hetero population. Additionally, the difference between smokers & drinkers in the LGBT vs. hetero populations was really only 6-8%. AND I know tons of folks who post on these stories. They are all Utahns. Your rock is awaiting you, Arlee.

  • Bob

    Fox runs these stories to see how many light weights they can jerk around. I’m much more concerned about what I’m going to be grilling tonight than what my neighbors are going to be doing behind closed doors.

  • Bob

    At the end of the day the gays will win the court battle but that won’t resolve the mental issues and internal conflicts they have knowing that something isn’t normal.

    • karlschneider

      Everyone is ab”normal” in some way. There is nothing intrinsically good about ‘normal’, in fact it’s pretty dismal to be typical and average. It isn’t ‘normal’ to be left handed, or to have 20-20 uncorrected vision. You do not have any moral or legal authority to discriminate against any person because they don’t fit your particular personal definition of what is ‘normal’. You could probably save yourself a lot of angst and anxiety if you’d just MYOFB and let others live the life they think is best for themselves.

      • Bob

        Lucky is the man (or woman) who Mother Nature blessed with normal $exual urges. I have no angst or anxiety over those who are abnormal. As I said before, the LGBTQ community have a whole sub-heading of folks who Mother Nature played a dirty trick on.

  • Mjensen

    If we are going to continue to hear the same arguments “the voters in Utah voted for it” lets put it to vote now. Oh wait it wouldn’t pass… that’s why.

  • Bob

    I understand the LGBT thing but what’s with the Q? Has Mother Nature played such a dirtly trick on some people that they don’t know where they belong? Why not LGBTQN? The “N” meaning normal?

  • Mabel Ike

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