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SCOTUS issues a stay in Utah same-sex marriages

In a very brief order, the U.S. Supreme Court has issued a stay on District Court Judge Robert Shelby’s ruling that Utah’s laws and constitutional amendment are unconstitutional.

MONDAY, JANUARY 6, 2014
ORDER IN PENDING CASE
13A687 HERBERT, GOV. OF UT, ET AL. V. KITCHEN, DEREK, ET AL.

The application for stay presented to Justice Sotomayor and
by her referred to the Court is granted. The permanent
injunction issued by the United States District Court for the
District of Utah, case No. 2:13-cv-217, on December 20, 2013, is
stayed pending final disposition of the appeal by the United
States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

This stops same-sex marriages from happening until the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules on the case.

No dissents are noted on the order, making it appear it had the consent of all justices.

“The ruling can be interpreted as an indication that the Court wants to have further exploration in lower courts of the basic constitutional question of state power to limit marriage to a man and a woman,” wrote SCOTUSblog writer Lyle Denniston, who has been reporting on the Supreme Court for over 55 years. “Had it refused the state’s request for delay, that would have left at least the impression that the Court was comfortable allowing same-sex marriages to go forward in the 33 states where they are still not permitted by state law.”

Managing partner James Magleby, in a statement wrote, “This stay is obviously disappointing for the families in Utah who need the protection of marriage and now have to wait to get married until the appeal is over. Every day that goes by, same-sex couples and their children are being harmed by not being able to marry and be treated equally.”

“However, this is just a temporary order, and, it is not unusual for the court to stay a decision declaring a state law unconstitutional pending appeal,” Magleby continued. “Importantly, however, this temporary stay has no bearing on who will win on appeal. We look forward to defending Judge Shelby’s decision in the Tenth Circuit.”

“We were confident when we filed the case in 2013; we were confident when we presented the arguments to the district court; and we remain equally — if not more — confident about our defense of marriage equality before the 10th Circuit,” Magelby finished.

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4 Comments

  1. As a result of the new order, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, based in Denver, will go forward with an expedited review of Judge Shelby’s decision. The appeals court has ordered briefing to begin on January 27 and to be completed by February 25. It has indicated it is not likely to grant any extensions of time to file those documents. It has not yet set a hearing date.

  2. No, Dave. It is ok. They waited until after Jan 1, so that couples could reap the tax benefit rewards. If this ends up in our favor, no state will have a leg to stand on. This is actually really positive as long as we win. If the other side wins, it will shift a lot of power back to them, so there is some fear.

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