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Sotomayor ponders stay of order allowing same-sex marriage in Utah

Thursday, January 2, 2014

WASHINGTON — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is pondering whether to grant a stay of a federal district court’s order that the state of Utah stop enforcing its ban on marriage for same-sex couples.

The state’s new attorney general filed a petition Tuesday to the court to grant the emergency stay, after being denied a stay by the federal district court and the Tenth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

APSonia Sotomayor

AP
Sonia Sotomayor

Sotomayor is the justice designated to handle such requests from the Tenth Circuit. She can either make a decision about the stay on her own or ask the full court to weigh in. And if she refuses to grant the stay, Utah has the option of asking the full court to consider its request.

The brief filed on behalf of Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, sworn into office only Monday, and Governor Gary Herbert, both Republicans, relies on a statement in the Supreme Court’s two marriage decisions last June.

The brief says the U.S. v. Windsor decision striking the Defense of Marriage Act’s key provision made clear that the federal government “cannot constitutionally disregard State laws allowing same-sex marriage.”

But the federal district court decision in Kitchen v. Herbert, says the state, “found no animus behind Utah’s marriage laws,” and yet exercised “an outright abrogation” of the state’s definition of marriage.

The brief calls each same-sex marriage in Utah “an affront” to the state and its citizens’ ability to define marriage “through ordinary democratic channels.” It argues that a stay is necessary to “minimize the enormous disruption” that might be caused by “potentially having to ‘unwind’ thousands more same-sex marriages….”

Utah voters adopted the ban on same-sex marriage and any other form of same-sex relationship in 2004 through a ballot measure known as Amendment 3 to the state constitution. Two other statutes enforce that ban. On December 20, in a lawsuit brought by the ACLU, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby declared the ban unconstitutional.

In making its case for a stay, Utah’s brief said the question presented by Kitchen is “the same question” presented by last session’s Proposition 8 case. But unlike Hollingsworth v. Perry, said the Utah brief, the Kitchen case presents no questions concerning legal standing.

Last June, the Supreme Court declined to rule on the constitutionality of California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage because the party appealing the case lacked legal standing to do so.

Meanwhile, the Utah legislature is preparing to take up yet another constitutional amendment –one to specify that churches cannot be made to host same-sex marriage ceremonies in violation of their religious views. There seems to be less controversy surrounding this new ban.

Openly gay State Senator Jim Debakis told the Salt Lake City Tribune that he doesn’t know of anybody who wants to force churches to perform ceremonies against their beliefs. The legislature convenes January 27.

Local papers have reported that between 700 and 900 marriage licenses have been issued to same-sex couples since the December 20 order barring further enforcement of Amendment 3.

© 2014, Keen News Service, All Rights Reserved.
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94 more reader comments:

  1. theres nothing to ponder just tell the state you will not grant the bloody stay

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:18am
  2. Just allow it love is love

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:19am
  3. What’s to ponder!! Equal is equal

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:21am
  4. I was just about to say the same thing. What is there for these people to ponder? I don't get it.

    Replied on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 2:15pm
  5. state of Utah is acting like a child who trows a tamper tantrum because he or she cant get what they want. You need an adult to tell Utah, gay marriage is done its over stop crying over spilled milk

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:21am
  6. A little courage, please

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:22am
  7. Love is love!

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:22am
  8. Utah has nothing to do with me, but I hope for the best. The best being the US Supreme Court tells Utah bigots to fuck off and deal with same-sex marriage!

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:22am
  9. hahahaha… Good!!

    Replied on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 1:00am
  10. You got that right!

    Replied on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 1:29am
  11. guys, she still has to go through the motions. we know where her opinions lie, but she still has a duty to uphold. she will rule fair and just.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:24am
  12. It sucks they’re putting all this on her just to perpetuate their theocracy.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:25am
  13. nothin to ponder – throw the bigots out.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:25am
  14. Not sure what there is to ponder, but sure hope she does the right thing and sends them packing. It is criminal that the state is allowed to waste so much time and money with their bigotry and intolerance.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:26am
  15. I hope she doesn`t grant it.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:27am
  16. how is it that the LAW can make LAWS saying that PEOPLE cant marry who they want because a BOOK written by ummmmm???, NO ONE KNOWS WHO, has people believing that what the BOOK says should be truth. ummm NO. truth is, PEOPLE THAT LOVE EACH OTHER SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO JUST LOVE EACH OTHER. HOW BOUT IF YOU DONT LIKE THAT MIND YOUR OWN DAMN BUSINESS. equal rights??? EQUAL FOR WHO???

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:27am
  17. They are confusing "marriage" with "holy matrimony" - those are two very different things. Let people marry who the hell they love and want to spend the rest of their life with. Nothing says family values like heterosexual divorce rates.

    Replied on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 4:49am
  18. Ok LDS friends..if u accept 10% for tithing from gays..then we expect 100% support….and equality.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:28am
  19. They would say that no "true tithing Mormon is Homosexual".

    Replied on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:43am
  20. she will grant the stay because she granted the stay for the birth control for the Catholics birth control and ACA

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:28am
  21. I disagree, Chris, two different issues.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:29am
  22. Good point, Chris. Would be nice if she didn’t, but if she does, the appeal better go nowhere

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:30am
  23. They sound so whiney; ” That judge won’t let us tell others how to live and impose our religious beliefs on them. It’s not fair”.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:31am
  24. How is the decision left up to her alone? I thought the supreme court justice department had to have a majority to override a law. Not just one of them make a call.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:31am
  25. what is with this pondering crap!!!!! = is = right? what is good for the goose is good for the gander right remember you wouldn’t have had a chance to be judge if we had not passed the womans right to vote!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:31am
  26. Cmon Sonia….you know the right thing…

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:34am
  27. Ponder what? Equality for Every Human?

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:35am
  28. If she grants the stay on her own, the state of Utah can go back then every justice in the Supreme Court will vote will vote on the issue. However, based on the outcome of Prop 8, if every justice is put to a vote it will most likely be sent back to the former ruling of of Circuit of Appeals, like Prop 8 was.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:36am
  29. another potential wishy washy coward in our judicial midst

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:36am
  30. I just have to say: Nothing to ponder here. Just make it right.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:37am
  31. I don’t know why much of the gay and liberal community consider her an ally;her past actions have been equivocal, at best.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:38am
  32. She will deny the stay. The Supreme Court will also deny the stay. They’ve already ruled on this.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:38am
  33. SHAME ON YOU they’re PEOPLE LIKE EVERYONE ELSE and DESERVE THE SIMPLE HUMAN RIGHT TO MARRY!

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:39am
  34. The ACA issue and the Utah issue may be different, but they are on the same page.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:40am
  35. Sotomayor Justice meanes Equality for all Americans..

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:41am
  36. At one point in our country’s history it was illegal under both State constitutions and under religious freedoms to allow interracial marriage. This is no longer the case. Neither reason is valid for denying interracial marriage. Same sex marriage is the same. Some day our descendants will look back and wonder what the fuss was about.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:42am
  37. The “Wise Latina” must act of pondering… we LGBTQ folk are not out of the woods yet! She will do what is just and right… you have my word!

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:42am
  38. What’s to ponder?

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:42am
  39. If she grants it, the other Justices will be polled on whether or,not to hear the case. If they decline, than marriage remains legal. The state can do no more.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:43am
  40. without Sonia, the court will vote to grant stay.

    Replied on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 1:30am
  41. I saw an article in which most insiders said odds of the Court hearing this is slim. Much like Prop 8, a state matter. Roberts reiterated policy and bluntly stated there are NO plans to change that.

    Replied on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 1:34am
  42. She is liberal in her views.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:44am
  43. And we love that...

    Replied on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 1:01am
  44. But the Court has rules. And she follow them and be impartial on such matters.

    Replied on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 1:03am
  45. please don’t everyone has the right to be equal in all areas of life including marriage.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:45am
  46. She’s wanting attention and she best watch out she’s going to get more than she can chew!!!!

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:46am
  47. The part that pisses me is that part of the taxes used by Utah State were actually paid by gays

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:46am
  48. Justice delayed is justice denied…

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:50am
  49. Tax the Mormon cult!!

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:51am
  50. One day we’re gonna look back and be ashamed of how long it took to give the LGBT community our rights as human beings… We all bleed red people

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:52am
  51. ?

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:55am
  52. Figures.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 1:01am
  53. Highly educated Latinos are usually liberal – Go Sotomayor (Boricua).

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 1:02am
  54. Please keep in mind the votes that took place back in June of 2013. Don’t forget that. And another thing . . . Loving v Virginia 388 U.S. 1 (1967) . . . that case was all over the place until the final decision. Just look at how the case worked it’s way thru the legal system. Each case is important but keep in mind the long view . My two cents ;-)

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 1:04am
  55. Brian Carroll, I’m not even from Utah and it pisses me off too! U bet if they went and poled those who voted for the stupid ban back in 2004 if they were ok paying more taxes to enforce it, most would say no. And as for the whole country, we are hard working, tax paying citizens who deserve all the same rights as our heterosexual counterparts. Equal is equal. If the government wants my money then I want my rights.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 1:16am
  56. NO

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 1:20am
  57. The state of Utah is going to waste 2M of tax payers money to fight this. They should take that money and put it into doing something good. I’m so tired of the closed minded assholes in this state.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 1:25am
  58. Oh come on Sonia, deny the stay and be done wit it.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 1:27am
  59. Why are peoples’ rights being “pondered”, voted on, judged and declared/denied?!

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 1:28am
  60. Justice Sotomayor is acting in a disappointing fashion

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 1:51am
  61. Why can she throw down DOMA but uphold the stay??

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 1:59am
  62. She’s cocked up Obamacare by providing religious exemption to birth control. I hope she does the right thing in this case and side with equality.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 2:04am
  63. She let her Catholicism get in the way of impartiality regarding both control. Why wouldn’t she do the same here?

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 2:13am
  64. EXACTLY, WHAT IS TO PONDER? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, EVENTUALLY THIS WILL GO THROUGH. SET A PROPER EXAMPLE FOR THE YOUNGER GENERATIONS COMING UP. THEY TOO WILL WANT EQUAL RIGHTS WHEN THEY ARE GAY, LESBIAN, CROSS-DRESSERS, DRAG QUEENS, TRANSEXUALS. AND KEEP IN MIND, ONE OF THESE DAYS IT WILL BE A RELATIVE, A CHILD, GRANDCHILD, GREAT GRANDCHILD, NIECE, NEPHEW. THEN HOW WILL YOU FEEL ABOUT GAY PEOPLE. DON’T WRECK THINGS FOR THE NEW GENERATIONS COMING UP. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!!!

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 2:14am
  65. there is nothing to ponder. it shouldnt be allowed to happen

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 2:43am
  66. Get this right Ms. S. You have to.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 2:50am
  67. yes

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 3:01am
  68. I hope she declines the request…

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 3:08am
  69. SHE NEEDS TO BE FIRED….IF YOUR AN AMERICAN CITIZEN THEN YOU DESERVE THE SAME RIGHTS AS ALL OTHER AMERICANS

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 3:11am
  70. I will be extremely disappointed in Justice Sotomayor, if she grants a stay.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 3:24am
  71. Don’t do it Sonia!

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 3:24am
  72. I thought she was Professor Snipe at first glance…

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 3:35am
  73. She was on sesame street that’s good enough for me

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 3:57am
  74. I wonder how she would feel if Hispanic people were not able to marry in 32 states in the US. There is only one US constitution and it states we are all equal. How can she even consider stopping the loving marriages in UT? No stay!

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 4:10am
  75. “Meanwhile, the Utah legislature is preparing to take up yet another constitutional amendment –one to specify that churches cannot be made to host same-sex marriage ceremonies in violation of their religious views. There seems to be less controversy surrounding this new ban.”

    This is proof perfect of the defective thinking present in some folks: even under total US marriage equality, there is no way a church can be made to perform a marriage outside the bounds of its religious doctrine. It would be like saying a church had to allow someone to join the congregation who refuses to profess the church’s statement of faith.

    Let Utah also pass amendments that state water must be wet, the sun must rise in the east, and set in the west.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 4:13am
  76. What’s with the pondering Judge? It’s a no brainer!

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 4:42am
  77. Nothing to ponder Ms. Sotomayor. Enforce your own ruling striking down DOMA. Allow same-sex marriages nationwide. Don’t confuse “marriage” with “holy matrimony”. Okay? Marriage should NOT be based on the Bible. Marriage is based on love. Holy Matrimony is based on Bible.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 4:51am
  78. Religion should not interfere with people’s lives. Not everyone has the same religion or beliefs. Let people marry who they wish. End of story.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 4:56am
  79. SHe’s waiting for the highest bidder, of course! ;)

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 5:39am
  80. There is nothing to ponder!!!! It is right to let two people that love each other get married which of course is freedom of choice! The more happy people in this horrific world the better so we can learn finally to let love RULE.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 5:49am
  81. Be an advocate for love and then you will be set free by becoming a part of something that is meaningful and real and that is LOVE and support of LOVE. Pure and simple truly the only thing that really makes a difference in our lives and what really matters at the end of the day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 5:52am
  82. I trust this woman to do what the laws allows.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 6:19am
  83. She’s probably religious (not to stereotype).

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 7:19am
  84. DON’T YOU DO IT GURL! DON’T!

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 7:21am
  85. its the state of utah claiming its citizens want the stay because of a vote in 04 or 09 either way its out dated if anything she should say no because its all due to religion in this state anyways.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 7:36am
  86. If the Supreme Court grants a stay, then that means that they may be ready to rule on marriage bans being unconstitutional. In the meantime, get married in Utah if that is your desire. Your chance may be halted soon.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 7:42am
  87. Oh yeah, I can see where this is going, a mile away or 3k miles. I won’t be surprised UNLESS she tells the UTAH Governor and the AG of that state to go pound sand. Now that will be a surprise to me!

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 8:08am
  88. Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 8:57am
  89. I think she is a fair and just judge

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 9:15am
  90. If DOMA was overturned because it was unconstitutional then how could amendment 3 be constitutional? Considering it was ruled unconstitutional already! In the long run this won’t be an argument any more, times are changing and love will over come hate! Oh and I don’t know a single gay person that would want the Mormons to officiate their wedding ceremony so they don’t need to worry their pretty little heads about that!

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 9:43am
  91. the decision has esentially already been made what is there to “ponder” this is not choosing a paint color this is peoples lives we are talking about.

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:02pm
  92. come on just say yes we need to get out of the dark ages people and move on this is nto a hard dicision

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:10pm
  93. please don’t disappoint us Justice Soto Mayor!

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:24pm
  94. isn’t it obvious….just sign here!

    Posted on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 12:50pm