Utah AG drops same-sex marriage recognition appeal

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UPDATE: In an order handed down on Wednesday, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted Utah’s request to dismiss the same-sex marriage recognition lawsuit, ending the case.


SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah Attorney General's Office is asking the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss it's appeal of a lawsuit over recognition of same-sex marriages.

FOX 13 first reported on Tuesday morning that Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes was seeking to dismiss Evans v. Herbert, a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Utah over state recognition of same-sex marriages performed in the state. By mid-day, they had filed with the federal appeals court in Denver.

"With this Court’s mandate in effect, Utah is constitutionally required to recognize the marriages of the same-sex couples who were plaintiffs in this action. Therefore, the State of Utah’s appeal of the district court’s order of preliminary injunction requiring such recognition, as the law stands today, is moot," Utah Attorney General's Federal Solicitor Parker Douglas wrote.

Read the filing here:

"It feels amazing!" said Elenor Heyborne, a plaintiff in the ACLU's lawsuit along with her wife, Marina Gomberg.

Four couples and the ACLU sued the state after their marriages, performed after Amendment 3 was declared unconstitutional, were not recognized under a directive from Governor Gary Herbert. After Monday's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, the governor directed state agencies to immediately recognize same-sex marriages.

Such a move impacts things from joint tax returns to adoptions and driver license name changes.

More than 1,200 same-sex couples married in Utah for 17 days between the time U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby declared Amendment 3 unconstitutional and Utah obtained a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court while it appealed.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Utah's same-sex marriage case, making the lower court's rulings stand. As many as 26 same-sex couples sought marriage licenses in Utah on Monday, according to numbers provided by county clerks across the state. The majority reported to FOX 13 they had no same-sex couples seek marriage licenses.

The number of same-sex marriage licenses issued by county clerks in Utah, according to a poll conducted by FOX 13.

The number of same-sex marriage licenses issued by county clerks in Utah, according to a poll conducted by FOX 13.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch said he believed the U.S. Supreme Court would have to take up a same-sex marriage case at some point.

"The Court, I think, is going to have to face the music on this, bring it up and then make a determination as to whether the states have a right to determine their marriage laws," Hatch said.

But asked if same-sex marriage was becoming inevitable, Hatch acknowledged it was a long-shot to reverse the courts.

"All I can say is the odds are against those of us who are for traditional marriage," he told FOX 13. "On the other hand, the Court has taken some real lumps for not recognizing that states have rights and certain states may decide otherwise."

Gomberg and Heyborne said they believed marriage in Utah was settled, as indicated by the state dropping its appeal of their lawsuit.

"I think as far as marriage is concerned? It's over," said Gomberg. "We are very confident it's over. The work to make sure Utah is a state that is fair to all gay and transgender people? We still have a lot of work to do . We can still be fired or evicted for being gay or transgender people. We still have work to do."


  • whatifdave

    Majority rule cannot interfere with the rights of a minor class of people. The U.S Constitution dictates everyone’s rights, and majority votes cannot override the U.S. Constitution.
    In other countries they have Sharia Law, and it dictates all rules of society. Their religious rules interfere the rights of women and gays. As the state brings in the attorneys in to block the rights of gays, should the courts require equal protection of women in religious organizations? Why can’t religious organizations be forced to allow women as priesthood? Where do you draw the line between religious rules and non-secular laws?
    At the same time, we need to find ways to destroy ISIS, create new companies, and contain Ebola. I believe it will take a village of Americans to really solve these challenges, and everyone can be an asset to any team to accomplish these goals.
    According to research, out of 200 ideas, 2 may become winners; therefore, you must encourage people to propose many concepts. Liberals have a tendency to think of all kind of ideas, some a little crazy. Eventually, one idea may become a game changer.
    To make winning ideas to become a reality, it takes other talents to do so. There are those people who can write (attorneys, business plans developers), those good with the details (i.e. accountants, engineers, TEA party people, gays), those who can finance new companies (Republicans) and those with lots of new ideas (Liberals), just to name a few.
    Then a new team of people with various talents will work together to make winning ideas to become a reality. I believe through the art of synergy and by the art of sharing new ideas, we can invent our way through America’s tough problems.
    We should stop drawing this line of conflict between people. Instead rally everyone to meet this nation’s challenges of ISIS and Ebola. We all, gays, TEA party people, Muslims, Republicans, Democrats, conservatives and liberals can and should work on our nation’s tough problems. Through the science of synergy, we will meet challenges that are beyond our wildest dreams.

    • Bob

      We need to destroy ISIS, Ebola and the life style you propose. Never give in to evil in any of its forms!

      • Sydney

        You are more likely to win the lottery AND get struck by lightning than to die from either Isis or Ebola. So there’s some good news. Now…. Stop being a homophobe, and start worrying about something that’s a real threat, probably to you more than ever, heart disease. And stop being of Billy Boys ilk.

  • davendavid

    I was married in California last year but Utah refused to acknowledge my marriage and change my name. I went in to west valley dmv today and was treated with the utmost respect. The way it should be.

    • bob

      The Utah Constitution was amended by the voters. That eliminated Utah courts and the Utah legislature from the equation, leaving only the Executive branch, which is legally and oath-bound to “protect and defend” the Constitution of the State of Utah.

      From that point, Utah availed itself of its Constitutional access to the Federal courts to seek a resolution of a question that had to be answered eventually. BOTH sides of the lawsuit encouraged continuing the fight to the Supreme Court. (In case you missed it.)

      The U.S. Constitution had nothing to say in the matter until the Supreme Court decided that it did.

      Note: There is only one legal authority higher than the U.S. Supreme Court, and that is the Constitution itself, from which the Court derives its authority. The Court can interpret the Constitution, but cannot overrule it. If, theoretically, the Constitution were amended to make “marriage” between 1 man and 1 woman then THAT would be “constitutional”, by definition.


    Utah I said it before, and I will say it again wake up and smell the Postum !
    It is about rights ! maybe you should call it Domestic partners, what ever you wish?
    Stop the hatred and the anti political stand as you stand against rights !

  • Rick

    At least Utah has tried its best to stop this state from becoming like the rest…. evil is running rampant… and also becoming the norm…. so dont expect God to help you … when the *&^% hits the fan… we have brought this on ourselves .

    • Susan C. Brennan

      People like you make me proud that I don’t believe in your book of silly book of fairy tales. However, since you believe it, have you ever eaten shellfish? If so, lie still ’cause your imaginary friend says we’re supposed to stone you to death!

    • Bob

      Since Suz-it has no respect for anyone including it, then a quote from a Mormon Prophet is appropriate. The Prophet Ezra Taft Benson said: “Homosexuality is a perversion and it is wrong!” God said it, I beleive it and that settles it. The SCOTUS did not change that! 😃 Now law enforcement can throw its in prison for bigamy.

      • Sam

        Bob, why don’t you first PROVE there is a God, then PROVE he said that…then it might SETTLE things. Otherwise please try to keep your rants in the real world.

      • Bob

        Why doesn’t Bob first show a little respect for Susan and her opinion by not trying to demean her by spelling her name the way he did, before he tries to preach to her about respect. YOU show some respect Bob before you tell others to.

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