Follow breaking news @lgbtqnation

Federal appeals court denies stay, no halt to same-sex marriages in Utah

Constitutional law professor opines Utah faces long odds to get stay granted, considering two courts have already rejected it and marriages have been going on for days now.
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Tom Smart, The Deseret News (AP)

Tom Smart, The Deseret News (AP)
About 1,500 people gather to celebrate marriage equality after a federal judge declined to stay his ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in Utah, at Washington Square just outside of the Salt Lake City and County Building Monday, Dec. 23, 2013, in Salt Lake City.

Updated: 7:35 p.m. MST

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that gay marriages can continue in Utah, denying a request from the state to halt same-sex weddings that have been occurring at a rapid rate since last week in one of the most conservative U.S. states.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ rejection of Utah’s request for an emergency stay marks yet another legal setback for the state. The same federal judge who ruled that Utah’s same-sex marriage ban violates gay and lesbian couples’ constitutional rights previously denied the state’s request to halt the marriages.

The appeals court said in its short ruling that a decision to put gay marriage on hold was not warranted, but said it put the case on the fast track for a full appeal of the ruling.

Utah’s last chance to temporarily stop the marriages would be the U.S. Supreme Court. That’s what the Utah Attorney General’s Office is prepared to do, said spokesman Ryan Bruckman. “We’re d isappointed in the ruling, but we just have to take it to the next level,” Bruckman said.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s office declined comment on the decision.

Carl Tobias, a constitutional law professor at Virginia’s University of Richmond who has tracked legal battles for gay marriage, thinks Utah faces long odds to get their stay granted, considering two courts have already rejected it and marriages have been going on for days now.

“The longer this goes on, the less likely it becomes that any court is going to entertain a stay,” Tobias said.

The appeals court ruling means county clerks can continue to issue marriage licenses to gays and lesbians. More than 700 gay couples have obtained marriage licenses since Friday, with most of the activity in Salt Lake City.

One of the couples that brought the case, Moudi Sbeity and Derek Kitchen, were driving home from the grocery store when their attorney called with the good news. Sbeity said it’s wonderful that multiple levels of courts are making it clear there’s no room for discrimination.

“It seems like we win over and over again. This is crazy,” Sbeity said. “This has been the best Christmas gift ever.”

Judge Robert J. Shelby’s decision to strike down a law passed by voters in 2004 drew attention given Utah’s long-standing opposition to gay marriage and its position as headquarters for the Mormon church. It made Utah the 18th state where gay couples can wed.

“Until the final word has been spoken by this Court or the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of Utah’s marriage laws, Utah should not be required to enforce Judge Shelby’s view of a new and fundamentally different definition of marriage,” the state said in the motion to the appeals court.

It is estimated that nearly two-thirds of Utah’s 2.8 million residents are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Mormons dominate the state’s legal and political circles.

The Mormon church was one of the leading forces behind California’s short-lived ban on same-sex marriage, Proposition 8, which voters approved in 2008, only to have it struck down in the federal courts for violating the constitutional rights of gays and lesbians. The church said Friday it stands by its support for “traditional marriage” and hopes a higher court validates its belief that marriage is between a man and woman.

Shelby’s ruling has created a confusing set of circumstances for county clerks, same-sex couples and state officials as they wait on an appeals court to bring some clarity to the issue.

Some county clerks were refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, even though they could face legal consequences.

The Utah attorney general’s office warned counties they could be held in contempt of federal court if they refuse to issue the licenses.

In the meantime, state agencies have begun trying to sort out how the gay marriages may affect state services.

Herbert’s office sent a letter to state agencies Tuesday afternoon advising them to comply with the judge’s ruling or consult the Utah attorney general’s office if the ruling conflicts with other laws or rules.

The Utah Department of Workforce Services, which administers programs such as food stamps and welfare, is recognizing the marriages of gay couples when they apply for benefits, spokesman Nic Dunn told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

In court Monday, Utah lawyer Philip Lott described the scenario unfolding in Utah as a “chaotic situation.” He urged the judge to “take a more orderly approach than the current frenzy.”

© 2013, Associated Press, All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Share this article with your friends and followers:

Archives: , , ,

Filed under: Utah, [ Editor's Picks ]

102 more reader comments:

  1. It is looking like we found a winning strategy in Republican states . . !

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:13am
  2. What... the judiciary actually doing its job? Yeah, I guess that WOULD be a refreshingly-new winning strategy. Let's see more of it!

    Replied on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:35am
  3. Got to drag Nebraska into 2014 with MARRIAGE EQUALITY.

    Replied on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 2:17am
  4. Allan, I'm also in Nebraska..... I suspect we might have more of a battle on our hands here.

    Replied on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 2:36am
  5. it will be tough in Texas though... the 5th circuit is plague by Bush's appointees...

    Replied on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 4:11am
  6. Come on, Pennsylvania!!! You're the only Northeastern State without Marriage Equality, Civil Unions or even a statewide LGBT Discrimination Protection! WAKE UP!!!

    Replied on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 8:07am
  7. PROUD this is happening in Utah

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:16am
  8. Michigan is cheering for you hon!!!

    Replied on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 2:27am
  9. No, it is not a "winning strategy". Start to re-frame your thinking. This is not a GAME of winners and losers. This is common human decency, and it is common sense! The Churches and their narrow minded religious bigoted congregations can continue to vilify and murder GLBT peoples throughout many a country, and they will attempt to put themselves into political power to manipulate and create the bigoted laws that they have in the past and present in many a country like Rick Warren and Scott Lively have advocated for and helped construct in Uganda and Russia etc. The only way to stop these evil doers' is through education. UNDER THE LAW of the Federal Founders of this invaded land, the bigots and the racists, and the "Christians" will not prevail. This is why they have to go to Uganda and Russia ... The minute Rick Warren and Scott Lively leave this country, they ought to revoke their ability to come back into this country!

    Replied on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 2:42am
  10. I agree with alot of what you said but the one thing is..we are winning...or staring to at least.

    Replied on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 4:09am
  11. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:17am
  12. Marry Christmas!!! :D

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:19am
  13. Kat McGuckin, moving on up!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:19am
  14. oh yeah!!

    Replied on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 3:38am
  15. … LOL!!! Merry Christmas UTAH!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:20am
  16. Right on!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:20am
  17. Can men have 14 Husbands?

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:21am
  18. Why not. Multiple-spousal unions are the TRUE "traditional definition of marriage" any way you historically slice it, in all cultures, on all inhabited continents. Me, I'd be satisfied with one. But the only force greater than Conservative hypocrisy, is human greed... so I'm sure polygamy's coming sooner or later.

    Replied on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 2:10am
  19. Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays!! Love is the reason for the season!!! Woohoo! <3

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:21am
  20. Ok if Utah can have gay marriage then come on Arizona!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:21am
  21. If Utah can do it so can we! C’mon Texas!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:22am
  22. Once Texas goes (equal)... there's no chance for the rest of the hold-outs. We'd definitely have nationwide equality within a year of that, I gua-ran-tee ! ;)

    Replied on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:37am
  23. AG of UT petitioning SCOTUS

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:23am
  24. This case could be the final nail in the coffin for marriage equality opponents. If a case goes before the court that is based solely on the constitutional rights of same sex couples to marry, they can't rule without setting a precedent for ALL of the states. Unlike the proposition 8 case, where they overturned the law based on a technicality, this one is a cut and dry case on the constitutionality of banning same sex marriage, and it's being brought before the courts with the proper people representing the state.

    Replied on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:55am
  25. Ohhh what a great Xmas gift for a the Utah’s Peoples!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:27am
  26. Good let it go to SCOTUS and get turned down. Maybe then we can get nation wide equality.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:28am
  27. Merry Christmas to ALL!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:28am
  28. This should send a message to all the other states!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:29am
  29. “Love is Louder” is the New “Yes”.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:29am
  30. Karma due to LDS religious nut birds lies. How sweet it is!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:31am
  31. Congratulations, Utah. You may be the case that brings marriage equality to the entire USA!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:36am
  32. Always love who you love and dont give a fuck what anyone else thinks!!!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:37am
  33. Praise The Lord now let nc do it to and around the world

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:38am
  34. What a great year for gay marriage it has been!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:38am
  35. UTAH OF ALL PLACES LOL

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:39am
  36. Chills !!!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:40am
  37. Um, excuse me. Don’t you mean MARRY Christmas?

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:40am
  38. I hate it but I kinda like defeating them one battle at a time!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:46am
  39. MERRY CHRISTMAS THANK YOU SO MUCH

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:48am
  40. Love has no barriers. This is a totally awesome win. Let’s keep it going in all the other states.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:50am
  41. Happy Holidays! :-)

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:51am
  42. The dominoes, de be a fallin’

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:52am
  43. Merry christmas to everyone and happy years to

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 1:53am
  44. :D

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 2:00am
  45. About time.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 2:01am
  46. Tis the season for miracles. Praise the Lord.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 2:01am
  47. It’s about time. the Mormons must be up-set lol O well you go gays of Utah

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 2:03am
  48. yay! great

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 2:04am
  49. The LDS Church were the primary backers of Prop. 8 in California. SCOTUS overturned their despicable meddling in another state’s laws. Karma has now come home to roost in Utah. Merry Christmas Mormons!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 2:15am
  50. WOOT WOOT!!! Suit is being filed in Virginia and the Court has ruled our soon-to-be-good-riddance-Governor can not be involved as he is not responsible for the amendment.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 2:20am
  51. Yeah!!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 2:29am
  52. HA HA!!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 2:36am
  53. Congratulations Utah!!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 2:38am
  54. ROCK ON…!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 2:40am
  55. good for you…

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 2:45am
  56. YOU GO UTAH!!!! I bet the Osmonds are having a HISSY FIT!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 2:50am
  57. I’m thinking of the millions of dollars spent by the Mormon church officials in Utah as they foisted Proposition 8 on California, and nor sure whether to be sad or laugh my ass off. Sad because that money could have done some real good had it been used to help people instead of spreading bigotry, laughing my ass off because it’s fun watching Karma sneak up and bite those idiots right where they live.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 2:53am
  58. I hate to rain on our parade but conservative christians will never let a court ruling get in their way just like with a woman’s right to choose. We will always be battling for marriage equality in this country regardless when we think we’ve won.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 2:57am
  59. i agree with Johnny Smith

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 3:00am
  60. Great news.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 3:01am
  61. Christmas weddings=bliss!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 3:04am
  62. another small step for humanity

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 3:05am
  63. Utah have to be free, they hace to fight for their rights, freedom and happiness, no matter what

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 3:18am
  64. Great news! Equality!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 3:28am
  65. Oh, they are shitting their pants in Salt Lake City at the Mormon Church HQ.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 3:32am
  66. Glad to hear it!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 3:39am
  67. Right…prevails again! Happy Holidays Utah!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 3:40am
  68. I stand for equality

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 3:46am
  69. Let’s hope the 10th Circuit Court and the Supreme Court on appeal vote for the US Constitution, equality, love, and family rather than hatred, bigotry, bullying, and ignorance. Let’s also hope the taxpayers of UT tell their Republican governor and his attorney general to stop wasting their tax dollars on these senseless appeals!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 3:46am
  70. Cynthia Granados ;)

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 3:48am
  71. Take that all you haters.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 4:06am
  72. Merry Christmas Utah :-)

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 4:11am
  73. If the majority of the 12 10th Circuit judges side with the lower federal court judge and the US Constitution and against the Republican governor on appeal of the case, same-sex civil marriage will be legal not only in UT (and NM), but also in CO, KS, OK, and WY. If the majority of the 9 US Supreme Court justices side with the lower federal court judge and the US Constitution and against the Republican governor on appeal of the case, same-sex civil marriage will finally be legal in every state in the US and gays/lesbians and their families will no longer be second class citizens in terms of civil marriage. If any gay/lesbian person or family knows any of these judges, now is the time to share your story!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 4:22am
  74. The 10th Circuit is made up of 5 judges appointed by Bush, 2 by Clinton, 3 by Obama, and 2 open positions the Republicans in the US Senate will not let Obama fill. The chief justice was appointed by Reagan but finishes in the end of this 2013 year. Hopefully the new Senate rules will let Obama fill the vacancies fast!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 4:39am
  75. Finally some good news!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 5:18am
  76. What Douglas Buchholz said.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 5:25am
  77. UTAH IS OFFICIALLY COVERED IN RAINBOW WEDDINGS!!:

    If this goes directly to the Supreme Court be prepared for both a backlash and a victory with all the different cases and recent precedents across the country and a change in the State of Affairs. It will be a win loss decision more than likely with us being granted full marriage equality within two years based on a provision of International Treaty which has the same force of law as the Constitution but doesnt preempt the Constitution.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 5:38am
  78. Jonathan Tupper!!! :)

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 5:41am
  79. A win is a win live in this moment and party!!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 5:53am
  80. So happy! Congrats to everyone continuing to celebrate! <3

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 6:41am
  81. Such great news

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 7:17am
  82. I’m waiting for Arizona to join the other states that recognize marriage equality!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 7:56am
  83. merry christmas

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 8:41am
  84. Merry Christmas!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 9:44am
  85. Equality NOW!!! USA!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 11:44am
  86. Wow!!!! Here’s one for equality

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 11:45am
  87. Merry Christmas to my friends in Utah and the world!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 3:01pm
  88. 3 capital likeys..

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 3:04pm
  89. Merry Christmas Mordiqai McQuade :)

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 3:07pm
  90. Go Utah!!!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 3:10pm
  91. ❤️❤️❤️

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 5:20pm
  92. ❤️

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 5:41pm
  93. After everything the Mormons have done or tried to do to the LGBT community, this is best Xmas present ever!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 5:52pm
  94. Yayyyyyyyyyy

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 7:29pm
  95. Lets hope it stays that way

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 7:55pm
  96. welcome

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 8:49pm
  97. Congratulations, Utah!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 9:41pm
  98. I’m happy and laughing at the bigots.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 10:56pm
  99. oo

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 11:46pm
  100. good

    Posted on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 at 11:46pm
  101. Marry Christmas!

    Posted on Thursday, December 26, 2013 at 12:07am