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Utah to take stay request to the U.S. Supreme Court

After the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals denied Utah’s motion for a stay of District Judge Robert Shelby’s ruling that Utah’s Amendment 3 and other laws that restricted same-sex couples from marrying, the Utah Attorney General’s office announced they would take the motion to the U.S. Supreme Court as early as today. The office, however, told Fox 13 News journalist Ben Winslow that it may take a few days because the office is working with outside counsel.

The state’s motion would go to Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who has jurisdiction over cases from Utah and neighboring states. She could either decide the issue herself or refer it to her colleagues. If she also denies the state’s request, Utah officials could ask the full court to consider it. There is no deadline for the justices to make a decision, but they typically act quickly on such requests.

The state’s motion for a stay was first denied verbally by Shelby, who on the day of the ruling told the Attorney General’s office he would only consider a written request. It was then denied by the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals twice over the weekend, the first because the case did not address two of four required arguments and the second because Shelby was to hear their case on Monday morning. Judge Shelby, after hearing about an hour’s worth of testimony from both sides of the issue, declined again to stay his ruling. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals again denied the request late Christmas Eve, saying the state did not sufficiently satisfy the four requirements to grant a stay, particularly that the state would likely win on appeal and that the state would be irreparably harmed if marriages continued.

The number of couples married in the state is estimated to be near 1,000. Legal experts say that the couples’ marriages would stand even if the ruling was overturned by a higher court and the marriage ban was back in effect.

Couples are now receiving marriage licenses in Utah County, whose county attorney and clerk were defying a directive from the Utah Attorney General’s office that refusing same-sex couples a license could lead to contempt charges. At least one Utah County couple has said they will file suit against the county clerk for refusing their license request on Monday.

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13 Comments

  1. It's a good thing all the Utah taxpayers are so willing to have their money spent on this! Haha! After all, we're just dripping with money here in Utah! Why, I don't know a single person who pays taxes in this state who isn't struggling. That's why we all drive a Mercedes and own at least two homes. That's why there's no welfare, food stamps or Bishops Storehouses here in Utah! That's why there aren't any drug problems or social security issues or homelessness or crime! That's why our state spends the most per child for education and why there's no risk of our water resources drying up in the next 20 years! It's because there's no such thing as poverty in our state, and there's absolutely nothing better for our taxes to go tward! So there's no reason NOT to fight the good marriage fight! What a wonderful government we have! Its priorities are COMPLETELY correct!

  2. Very telling of folks in Utah, but, the up side is that this will set the table for the toppling of hate-based legislation across The Union. State's right never trump The Constitution. Sadly, Utah, and LDS, half a long a storied history of discrimination against women, gays, and folks of color. Just as The Supreme Court overturned DOMA, they will uphold the lower court and the 14'th Amendment. Gay people are not less than. If Utah folks want a parochial state, they can move to North Korea, or Iran. In the U.S., we have a precedent for equal civil rights. Period. You have already lost, Utah. Accept it.

  3. Folks in Utah? Kind of a blanket stereotype, don't you think? There are plenty of us who live in Utah who are not haters… You're making the typical connection between the LDS Church and EVERYONE who lives here most of the country makes. Sad, really, that you who claim to be so liberal are so quick to judge all us "Utah folks" as closed minded bigots. I am every bit as proud to be a "Utah Folk" as I am to be gay. .

  4. Yep. Vote the bad folks out. Utah honestly should not have let this happen, but, now…the federal court has intervened. I'm not sure I'd be proud of some place that routinely funds anti-equality campaigns across the country, but, I also understand that sometimes folks have to be hit across the side of the head to do the right thing.

  5. Dresden Savastano No. Please pardon my generalization. The Constitution protects the minority, not the majority, and that's what it's there for. Many folks, however, are apathetic, and piss and moan, but, don't vote.

    Back in 1991, I spent a year homeless, in Mesa, AZ. I don't have a drug problem, but, made some bad decisions, got unlucky, didn't make myself a priority, etc. I ended up in a homeless shelter for Mesa. When I refused LDS prayer meetings, I was thrown to the street. I also worked for a long distance reseller in Chanler, AZ, and when I refused to go to LDS functions, I was fired. I know how LDS works, up close and personal. They shun, they embarass, they shame, and are a horrible influence to young gay men, and young gay women, and treat women and folks of color differently.

    My point is that the folks in Utah need to stand up and vote. It all gets down to that. Therein lies the power, and, for those folks who don't do the right thing.. we need to vote the rotten bastards out.

    I understand that being a minority is what it is, and I'm not blaming the LBGT community, but, good decent folks need to do everything in their power to set the LDS folks straight. They are on the wrong side of history, then, and now.

  6. now if only all the people who are celebrating now remember to vote this next November we could have a whole different state for 2015

  7. Darren Tucker I use that term..meaning the people in the legislature who support discrimination. Had we had representatives that feel as we all do, this would/could have happened sooner. Remember "folks in Utah" includes the leadership of the LDS church and people like Gayle Rusika and the Sutherland Institute. they are the "folks" we refer to.

  8. Dresden Savastano I had responded to this earlier but it seems it got lost along the way. Hey, I understand. The Constitution protects the minority, every bit has it protects the LDS being allowed to codify discrimination into law. Clearly, in this case, the federal court functioned in just the way it should, doing what was right, and, perhaps, not the view of the majority.

    When I lived in Phoenix, AZ, I ended up in a homeless shelter (I don't use drugs) in Mesa. When I refused to go to LDS meetings, I was thrown out on the street.

    When I worked for NCN in Mesa, I was fired when I refused to attend LDS functions.

    I know LDS, up close and personal, and I get the shunning, the guilt, that they try to impose upon gay folks, young and old. LDS has a long and storied history of discrimination against gay folks, folks of color, and women, and we know that's true, like it, or not.

    Every single person in Utah, and across the land, needs to stand up and put them in their place, just as Judge Shelby did this past week. We are equal.

    We need to be embarrassed about the fact that we let the Religious Nuts dominate the political narrative in this country, and not just in Utah. There is no pride in people that discriminate.

  9. Chuck Gudgel However, if it wasn't for a supportive community for LGBT rights this exciting time would not have happened as rapidly as it is. I am straight and proud to support the rights of all! And I am proud to be from Utah!

  10. Chuck Gudgel We do vote, but it is literally impossible to outvote the bigots in this state because they outnumber us. It sort of seems like you're blaming the LGBT community for not having the power to outvote conservatives in a conservative state, which is definitely not our fault.

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