Salt Lake County unlikely to appeal Judge Shelby’s ruling

A highly placed confidential source in Salt Lake County government confirmed to QSaltLake this morning that the county is unlikely to join the State of Utah in an appeal of Judge Robert Shelby’s recent ruling overturning Utah’s constitutional prohibition of same-sex marriage in the state.

The source, speaking anonymously, indicated that the final decision is in the hands of Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen, who was a named party in the suit. It was also noted that the county may file an appeal on the basis of some technicality as a mechanism to remain in the conversation as the suit works its way through the legal system.

Judge Shelby has scheduled a hearing on the state’s motion for a stay in the case for Monday, December 23, at 9 a.m. He denied a verbal request on Friday to stay his ruling. If the stay is granted on Monday, county clerks will be required to stop issuing marriage licenses pending the appeal. The Salt Lake County Clerk’s office will open at 8 a.m. on Monday and will resume issuing marriage licenses. It has been reported that several other counties, including Washington, Davis, Cache and Weber will also be issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples pending court action as well.

If Shelby refuses to stay his ruling on Monday, the state will go to the District Court of Appeals in Denver, Colo. to file an emergency stay there. It is unclear what the timing would be on such a decision by that court in light of the holidays.

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