Gay Marriage | News | Utah

Appeals Court Declines to Halt Gay Marriages in Utah

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected the state of Utah's request to stop same-sex marriages from taking place there, the AP reports:

UtahThe 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 disappointed in the ruling, but we just have to take it to the next level," Bruckman said.

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 next step of the 10th Circuit's appeal process is overseen by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who could decide the matter on her own or refer the matter to the whole court for consideration. Sotomayor was one of the five pro-equality Justices in the DOMA ruling this summer. 

Congrats to all the couples in Utah who continue to take part in this historic moment! 

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  1. Next stop, Virginia! It's for lovers, you know…

    Posted by: Doug | Dec 24, 2013 11:47:42 PM

  2. The timing couldn't have been more appropriate. As if God was trying to send a message. Merry Christmas to all.

    Posted by: Rafael | Dec 24, 2013 11:58:58 PM

  3. so this is probably it, right?

    if there is to be a sweeping ruling from the SCOTUS, it will likely be a result of Utah's appeal of the 9th district court's ruling that the state's same-sex marriage ban violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the US Constitution, no?

    the 10th circuit court of appeals has agreed to an expedited hearing, the initial ruling judge's opinion is sound, and Utah has vowed to appeal to the supreme court. this should be the case in which the SCOTUS will rule in the wake of Windsor, Lawrence, and Loving, to strike down state bans on same-sex marriage and bring marriage equality to the full United States - right?

    Posted by: Dan B | Dec 25, 2013 12:10:09 AM

  4. We may need to send Brian Brown some instructions on applying for unemployment.

    Suck it Brian!

    Posted by: bkmn | Dec 25, 2013 12:11:25 AM

  5. I just cant help but smile thinking how butthurt Mormon town is this Christmas.

    So happy for the couples.

    Whole thing reminds me of the song from The Color Purple: Gods trying to tell you something.

    Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays

    Posted by: mickey | Dec 25, 2013 12:13:16 AM

  6. SCOTUS doesn't exactly respond to appeals on a dime, and it seems unlikely to get near this one.

    Posted by: Paul R | Dec 25, 2013 12:21:51 AM

  7. This is delicious to the point of being tragic. In effect the courts decisions are thwarting the will of God and sacredness itself is being challenged, if not mocked. That would have to be view of top Church authorities, in any traditional church (the Book of Mormon aside.)

    So that would be pseudo tragic since, beginning with a virgin birth, all the presumed sacred/supernatural aspects of traditional religion are not credible, to say the least. Or to put it another way, "it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

    Posted by: UFFDA | Dec 25, 2013 12:24:19 AM

  8. One of the two judges who sat at the appeal court was a Bush appointee. Even he agreed that the stay should be denied because
    "letting the marriages go ahead would not cause "irreparable harm" and that it doesn't have a good shot at winning its appeal"
    At this point, it is more and more like New Jersey where the court had similar opinion.
    While Christie was smart enough to fold tent, the Utah governor is expected to fight on till the Supreme Court. As DAN said, it is not necessarily a bad thing.

    Posted by: simon | Dec 25, 2013 12:44:40 AM

  9. best xmas present is best

    Posted by: grant | Dec 25, 2013 12:47:27 AM

  10. The 86 year old "prophet" of the morhole church needs to do some fast talking to God...

    1-- If the mormon-controlled Utah Government takes this to SCOTUS, they will lose and UTAH-HA-HA-HA will be the State that caused all the other States' laws to be struck down.
    This will make the morholes even more hated by the evangelicals.

    2-- Presently, Gay mormons have to lie or sit in the bad seats of the afterlife. The prophet needs God to give him a way to keep mormon youth from leaving the church to marry in civil ceremonies-- HA HA HA

    Posted by: Bob | Dec 25, 2013 1:02:42 AM

  11. Perhaps a future headline would be like this:
    "Utah governor inadvertently became the champion of same-sex marriage in the United States."

    Posted by: simon | Dec 25, 2013 1:05:22 AM

  12. Each federal district has a Supreme Court justice overseeing it for just such situations. The Tenth Circuit has Justice Sotomayer, who ruled with the majority in _Windsor_. Unless Utah can come up with some new, amazingly good material, she is not going to issue a stay.

    There are already 700+ same-sex marriage in Utah in just the last three days. By the time the appeal hearing starts, I would not be surprised to see 3000. At that point, repeal will be very unlikely.

    I dare say, this is a done deal.

    Posted by: Gregory in Seattle | Dec 25, 2013 1:06:20 AM

  13. BOB you have nailed it "Utah-ha-ha-ha". I wish I'd thought of that.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Dec 25, 2013 1:14:26 AM

  14. Yee-Hawww...!!!

    Posted by: Bill Michael | Dec 25, 2013 2:13:01 AM

  15. @ Gregory in Seattle -

    Let's hope. But according to the legal reporter/editor over at the Equality on Trial website, if Sotomayer decides herself, "the losing party can ask another Justice or the full Court. But the other Justice could also ask the full Court to decide" as well.

    This "wrinkle" as it was termed was added by the editor in the comments section to the article:

    Posted by: Lexis | Dec 25, 2013 3:26:50 AM

  16. Yes, Virginia... there really is a Santa Claus

    Posted by: woody | Dec 25, 2013 3:40:40 AM

  17. Dan B - The fact that Utah's government is vowing to "take this the Supreme Court" doesn't necessarily mean that the game is over or that Utah's case will be the one that changes everything.

    In the vast majority of cases, the Supreme Court chooses which cases it will hear. Often their decisions about which cases to take can be influenced by by political and sociological factors. Some Justices may feel (and Justice Ginsburg has obliquely suggested) that when it come to a declaring a national right to equal marriage (or any big social change) it may be best if the Supreme Court waits for more state legislatures, state courts, state voters and/or lower federal courts to jump on board on their own. It might be more practical for the Court to take such a case when there are, say, 25-35 states that allow equal marriage, rather than create the perception that the Court "forced" it on more than half the states.

    Of course, this kind of approach can be frustrating, and it IS unfair to those who end up having to wait. But at times members of the Court take a longer, wider view and see some wisdom in letting things bubble through the system and earn some grudging acceptance before the Court acts.

    Posted by: Buster | Dec 25, 2013 4:17:36 AM

  18. Just got in from a Christmas Eve party. Merry christmas & Happy Holidays everyone!

    Can't say that I'm surprised at the 10th no stay decision. Loved the short 'after analyzing ruling' line. Sotomayor won't issue a stay and yes they can ask other Justices but that opens up a can of worms too. Would Scalia or Thomas risk retribution from Sotomayor at another time if the situation were reversed? Circuit Courts have Justices assigned for a reason.

    A stay after 1000 couples have exchanged vows that can't now be rescinded. What's the point? I'd have to think that Scalia knows better. Thomas would do it because he's pwned. Sotomayor needs to put the fear of Latina vengeance into him.

    Utah is in trouble at the 10th no matter how this plays out on the stay. Shelby eviscerated every argument put forward by marriage equality opposition. What judge there is going to be able to find error enough in Shelby's ruling to reverse his decision and stand up to scrutiny under Kennedy DOMA language?

    If Shelby's ruling is upheld at the 10th (which I fuly expect it will) it'll be our first Circuit Court victory and could be applied to Kansas, Oklahoma, & Wyoming. That would speed things up a lot.

    I'd love to see Shelby's ruling be the framework for a SCOTUS national decision.

    Posted by: SERIOUSLY | Dec 25, 2013 4:35:06 AM

  19. One of the funniest responses by anti-gay creeps is "some judge thinks he knows better than the voters of Utah." The other side of that coin is: "Stupid Utah voters think they know better than an Appeals Court judge."

    Congratulations LOVING COUPLES in Utah, bravo to the judge who sees no reason to impede equal rights so bigots feel some sort of satisfaction. I'm sure "traditional couples" will be breaking up all over the place this Christmas in Utah

    Posted by: Steve | Dec 25, 2013 6:41:31 AM

  20. In what way is the Utah prohibition on same sex marriage different from California's Prop-8.

    The only thing that I can think of is that California actually had same-sex marriages and continued to recognize those done before Prop-8. I don't that is in any way relevant.

    Posted by: Gay Guy | Dec 25, 2013 6:44:48 AM


    Now that that hateful nonsense is out of the way, Merry Saturnalia and a happy Juvenalia. And joy to our sisters and brothers in Utah.

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | Dec 25, 2013 6:51:25 AM

  22. Go ahead, Utah, bring it on !!

    Even Fatso Christie was smart enough to let it drop, opting to lash out and snarl up bridge traffic instead of wasting money and court time on a fight he saw he couldn't win.

    Posted by: rroberts | Dec 25, 2013 7:44:36 AM

  23. Jesus said Greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for his friends. I wonder if deeply religious Utahns will show the same sacrificial spirit by foregoing appeals to SCOTUS and the 10th. If the 10th rules in favour of marriage equality then that ruling will apply without a stay to the whole Circuit. If they are really sacrificial they'll just suck it up and give those states a few more years of marriage inequality. At the moment Utah is trying it's darndest to bring marriage equality to the whole US in the shortest possible time. Either way am happy but their current work extending equality is very much appreciated.

    Posted by: Craig Nelson | Dec 25, 2013 9:30:31 AM

  24. Buster:
    You may be right. The state by state approach is a bit tedious. The Utah case is still important as a test case. If the Supreme Court allows the same-sex marriage decision to stand, that means if other states follow suit, the result will likely to be the same.
    Probably organizations like ACLU will watch this case closely. If the Supreme Court decision is favorable, they will swarm the courts with cases in other red states. Very soon the magic number of 25 or 35 will be reached.

    Posted by: simon | Dec 25, 2013 9:42:03 AM

  25. M0st likely this will go all the way , beyond the 10th Appeals.

    Then SCOTUS will take the Appeal will allow Judge Shelby's original ruling to stand; same sex marriages will stand in Utah......and will be followed in other states where challenged.
    Thus Ginsberg will be vindicated in her softly softly approach.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Dec 25, 2013 10:21:52 AM

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