Is former U.S. Attorney Monte Stewart the “outside counsel” the state is tapping in its same-sex marriage appeal?

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Former U.S. Attorney and Supreme Court clerk Monte Stewart, who also was the co-chair of one of the four organizations that pushed for passage of Amendment 3, is said to have been one of the consultants for the state in its efforts to save the anti-gay marriage laws on Utah’s books. It is not yet certain that Stewart is the “outside counsel” the state is speaking with to help lead its appeal to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Stewart was co-chair of Utahns for a Better Tomorrow in 2004 as Amendment 3 was before Utah voters. He is a staunch proponent of “man-woman marriage” and is reportedly working with the Utah Attorney General’s Office in its planned attempt to get the Supreme Court to stop same-sex couples from marrying in the state as the circuit court hears its appeal.

Representatives from his Idaho-based firm — Stewart, Taylor and Morris — confirmed that they had a role in the case, but would not state anything further, including whether the firm will lead Utah’s appeal.

Newly-sworn attorney general Sean Reyes is also being tight-lipped on what firm the state will be using in the appeal. The state has yet to file a motion to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor for an emergency stay of U.S. 10th District Court Judge Robert Shelby’s Dec. 20 ruling that Utah’s anti-gay marriage laws were unconstitutional.

Acting Attorney General Brian Tarbet did say that Stewart will “assist the state” in the motion to stay the order, but would not say if he will be the lead counsel on the stay or the appeal.

The office is also mum on the timing of when such a motion might happen.

Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit ordered an expedited schedule to hear the case, even after refusing to stay Shelby’s ruling. the briefing stage of the appeal will be concluded by Feb. 25, according to the sternly-worded order.

As chief counsel of Nevada’s Coalition for the Protection of Marriage, Stewart wrote in an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in the Proposition 8 case that changing marriage, “may be the most nationally important issue to come before this Court in many years.”

“[I]f this Court mandates genderless marriage, the resulting social divisions and political contentions will probably equal and may surpass those resulting from Roe v. Wade,” Stewart wrote in the brief.

“Officially recognizing genderless marriage, and thereby deinstitutionalizing man-woman marriage, will first diminish and then largely eliminate the latter institution’s valuable and unique social goods,” Stewart wrote in a Harvard law article, Marriage Facts.


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