SALT LAKE CITY – The Supreme Court granted a stay Friday on a lower court decision ordering Utah to recognize same-sex marriages conducted in the state.
The most recent stay, issued Friday afternoon, halts Utah’s potential extension of state-recognized marriage benefits to the more than 1,200 same-sex couples married during the 17 days between Dec. 20, 2013, and Jan. 6, 2014, when those marriage were legal.
Utah’s appeal was sent to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who, in turn, referred it to the full U.S. Supreme Court, which subsequently issued the stay. A similar scenario occurred when Utah officials originally appealed to the high court for an emergency stay on the ruling that overturned Amendment 3, the state’s same-sex marriage ban.
On July 11, the 10th Circuit Supreme Court of Appeals denied Utah’s request to issue a more permanent stay on recognizing the same-sex marriages pending the ultimate outcome of the Amendment 3 court battle. The ruling ordering Utah to recognize the marriages came from the Evans v. Herbert case, a case separate from the original Amendment 3 case known as Herbert v. Kitchen.
The appeals court also issued a 10-day stay on its own ruling, giving Utah time to appeal its decision, which it did on Wednesday.
For the time being, same-sex couples married during the 17-day window continue to find their marriages in a state of legal limbo as the fight over Amendment 3 carries on.
Following the Supreme Court’s issuance of the stay, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert issued the following statement:
I believe the Court made the correct decision to issue a stay in the Evans v. Herbert case. This is an important step in the process toward resolution of this issue.
Regardless of where you stand on same-sex marriage, all Utahns deserve clarity and finality when it comes to the law. I believe states have the right to determine their laws regarding marriage and, as I have said all along, that decision will ultimately come from the United States Supreme Court.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah also made a statement regarding the Supreme Court’s actions:
We are deeply disappointed by the decision to grant a stay pending appeal, but despite this setback, we are confident that when the appellate process is completed we will prevail and these lawfully married same-sex couples will once again be given the same legal protections as ever other legally married Utah couple.
From the Utah Pride Center:
The Utah Pride Center stands beside the more than 1,200 families who will continue to face discriminatory treatment by the State of Utah as a result of the stay. However, the decision puts these families front and center when Kitchen vs. Herbert arrives at the Supreme Court. We are confident that the Supreme Court will ultimately affirm the dignity of these families and strike down for good Utah’s efforts to use the law to discriminate against LGBT citizens.
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- Update: Same-sex marriage stay granted
- Judge orders Utah to recognize same-sex marriages from 17-day window
- U.S. Supreme Court halts same-sex marriages in Utah
- Utah appeals to U.S. Supreme Court to halt same-sex marriages
- Tenth Circuit denies Utah’s appeal for stay on same-sex marriage ruling
- Marriage licenses issued, weddings had for same-sex couples in Washington County
- Judge denies Utah’s request for emergency stay, same-sex marriage decision
- Federal judge strikes down Utah’s same-sex marriage ban
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