SALT LAKE CITY — As anticipated, the Utah Attorney General’s Office has appealed its same-sex marriage ban to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“My responsibility is to defend the State Constitution and its amendments as Utah citizens have enacted them. We recognize this litigation has caused uncertainty and disruption and have accordingly tried to expedite its resolution as quickly as possible by filing our petition a full month-and-a-half before its September 23rd due date,” Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said in a statement to FOX 13 on Tuesday.
“Utah welcomes a speedy grant of the petition and a Supreme Court merits decision, as all Utah citizens will benefit when the Supreme Court provides clear finality on the important issue of state authority to define marriage.”
Read Utah’s filing here:
Three gay couples sued the state of Utah over Amendment 3, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Last year, a federal judge here in Utah declared the ban unconstitutional.
For 17 days, same-sex marriage was allowed in Utah until the U.S. Supreme Court halted it pending an appeal to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. More than 1,200 same-sex couples wed in Utah, according to an analysis of marriage records by FOX 13.
Last month, the federal appeals court also declared Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.
“We respect the State’s right to seek review of its own law in the highest Court in
the land, but we also respectfully, and vehemently, disagree with the notion that States can deny one of the most foundational rights to the millions of same-sex couples living across this great land,” Peggy Tomsic, the lawyer for the gay couples who sued over Amendment 3, said in an email to FOX 13.
“We look forward to reviewing the Petition filed by Utah’s excellent lawyers, and to responding to it in due course.”
The National Center for Lesbian Rights, which also represents the plaintiffs in the case, also issued a statement:
“We respectfully disagree with the State of Utah’s lawyers. Utah’s same-sex couples and their children are continually harmed by the enforcement of measures that deny them equal dignity, security and protection. We will carefully review the State’s petition to determine the response that will best advance our goal of winning for all Utahns the freedom to marry the person they love, and to have their marriages treated the same as other couples’ marriages,” said NCLR director Shannon Minter.