Utah Judge Denies Request to Stay Ruling Legalizing Gay Marriage

ShelbyJudge Robert Shelby has denied a request by the governor to stay his ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in Utah, and gay couples will continue to marry for the time being.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

After listening to an hour of arguments regarding his controversial ruling last week allowing same-sex marriages in Utah, a federal judge on Monday denied the state’s request for a stay...

...A hearing began at 9 a.m. to hear the state’s request for a stay. Shelby retired to deliberate at about 10:20 a.m. He issued his decision at about 11:15 a.m.

Meanwhile, hundreds of same-sex couples resumed obtaining marriage licenses on Monday...

...Assist. Utah Attorney General Phill Lott argued Monday that court should impose a stay because the order caught everyone by surprise and disrupted the status quo. And because the state will otherwise appeal, and all same-sex marriage licenses issued would be null and void, if decision is overturned.

Watt said there was "a cloud of uncertainty over the same-sex marriages currently taking place."


Peggy Tomsic, who represents three same-sex couples in the lawsuit that challenged Amendment 3, told the judge: "Fundamentally, the state is asking you to go backwards."

Tomsic argued that the state’s reasons for asking for a stay were no different than the reasons that initially used in previous arguments. She said that if those arguments were not compelling enough to win initially, they were not compelling enough to win a stay.

"The status quo has changed," Tomsic added. "The cloud of confusion is in the minds of the state."

The Utah government is expected to appeal to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which over the weekend denied an emergency stay of Shelby's ruling.

In related news, "Box Elder, Cache, Emery, Utah and Sanpete Counties are not issuing marriage licenses" according to FOX13 News.


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  1. "the cloud of confusion is in the mind of the state"

    true dat

    Posted by: Glenn I | Dec 23, 2013 1:31:01 PM

  2. Great News! Hopefully everyone in line can get married in the next 4 hours.

    Posted by: mitch reid | Dec 23, 2013 1:33:41 PM

  3. I understand some county clerks (Utah County being one) are refusing to marry awaiting explanation by the governor and the AG. Technically they are in contempt of court (to Judge Shelby) as he vacated the amendment immediately. Amendment 3 NO LONGER EXISTS; therefore there is no explanation needed. More of the "Dronenburg" mentality (our clerk here in SD County) who tried similar delaying tactics after Prop 8 was vacated. I for one, will remember his name at the next election, especially since it's on my marriage license (we married on our 24th anniversary). Additionally, there is a very narrow ruling in OHIO today further chipping away at anti-gay marriage law. All I see is steady progress of something I honestly never expected to see in my lifetime. Sometimes times do change.

    Posted by: steven | Dec 23, 2013 1:44:09 PM

  4. Love this Judge!!

    Posted by: Lazycrockett | Dec 23, 2013 1:46:54 PM

  5. Love this Judge.

    Posted by: Lazycrockett | Dec 23, 2013 1:47:39 PM

  6. What a beautiful man!

    Robert, marry me!!!

    Posted by: litper | Dec 23, 2013 1:48:51 PM

  7. Did the governor and his buddies seriously imagine or expect that a stay would be granted? Seriously??

    As attorney Peggy Tomsic already pointed out, "the state’s reasons for asking for a stay were no different than the reasons that [were] initially used in previous arguments. She said that if those arguments were not compelling enough to win initially, they were not compelling enough to win a stay."

    I'm betting dollars to donuts the appeal fails miserably.

    Posted by: rroberts | Dec 23, 2013 1:50:26 PM

  8. Utah is a massive victory considering the cancerously evil influence on that insane mor(m)on cult in that state.

    Suck it mor(m)ons - you can wear your magic underwear to grieve this evening.

    Posted by: MaryM | Dec 23, 2013 1:50:38 PM

  9. Beautiful man, inside & out. Thank you sir!

    Posted by: John P. | Dec 23, 2013 2:00:38 PM

  10. even after the stay was denied, Utah County Clerk Bryan Thompson still refusing to comply with the court order.

    Posted by: palerobber | Dec 23, 2013 2:03:33 PM

  11. Wow he's pretty handsome!

    Posted by: Joey Y | Dec 23, 2013 2:09:03 PM

  12. Unfortunately, the Tenth Circuit will probably grant a stay within 24 hours. This is one of the more conservative "Circuits" in the country.

    Posted by: MiddleoftheRoader | Dec 23, 2013 2:28:30 PM

  13. Utah County should stop it with the Jim Crow Era Tactics and allow people to marry.

    Posted by: mitch reid | Dec 23, 2013 2:30:29 PM

  14. 10th circuit denied a stay two times already!

    Posted by: litper | Dec 23, 2013 2:31:28 PM

  15. congratulations to you steven&your partner of 24 years! ...and congrats to all the citizens of utah who benefit from this act of justice. (my partner & i are into our 20th year together and our dp becomes a marriage in june : )

    Posted by: j justice | Dec 23, 2013 2:33:13 PM

  16. Salt Lake Tribune article is good.

    COMMENTS on that article are freakin AMAZING. Almost 2000 comments and 95% are heartwarming & understanding expressions in support of equality.

    They've been paying attention in Salt Lake City!


    Glad to see accolades for Judge Shelby. He is a Hero.

    Posted by: SERIOUSLY | Dec 23, 2013 2:43:44 PM

  17. Tenth Circuit denied a stay previously because the general rule is that appellate judges won't grant a stay until they give the trial judge a chance to rule on the request for a stay. Once the trial judge has denied a stay, the Tenth Circuit judges can step in immediately (minutes, hours, maybe a day or two) and grant a stay. Unfortunately, that will probably happen now. So if you plan to get married in Utah soon, better do it today (or this hour).

    The situation in California with Prop 8 was very different. The California Supreme Court said same-sex marriages have to be permitted; thousands of marriages took place; it was only months later, after Prop 8 was passed, that further marriages were put on hold. The marriages that took place between the first California Supreme Court decision and the adoption of Prop 8 always remained valid because they had nothing to do with the grant or denial of a stay. They took place when the law in California was to allow same-sex marriages (after the California Supreme Court decision) and before the law changed (when Prop 8 was enacted). The Utah situation is very different.

    Bottom line: Get married IMMEDIATELY, and even then, marriages that occur now could still be thrown out later.

    Posted by: MiddleoftheRoader | Dec 23, 2013 3:04:48 PM

  18. Windsor has changed the judicial landscape completely, and it's not especially likely that the 10th Circuit will issue an immediate stay, unless the Utah AG can show how heterosexual couples are damaged & also overcome Judge Shelby's judgement in the case. The bar is now much higher-

    Posted by: Jerry | Dec 23, 2013 3:12:08 PM

  19. I think that there are a lot of Mormons who at this very moment are down on their knees praying for a "miracle". Sounds like Jesus is perhaps once again not listening. HA!HA!

    Posted by: TomR | Dec 23, 2013 3:44:38 PM

  20. Another federal judge just ruled Ohio's ban is unconstitutional as well.


    Posted by: Lexis | Dec 23, 2013 4:07:38 PM

  21. I with The State of Utah would show some decency and stop attacking its gay citizens.

    Posted by: Rafael | Dec 23, 2013 4:09:00 PM

  22. The more marriages the merrier--and the better for UT couples if the 10th Circuit grants a stay. However, it's very unlikely the existing, legal marriages would be later thrown out even if--also unlikely--the ultimate decision didn't go our way. Voiding legal marriages would be unprecedented. (The ones that were voided in CA were because Gov. Newsom didn't have authority to perform them.)

    Good news, fingers crossed for UT.

    Posted by: Ernie | Dec 23, 2013 4:09:08 PM

  23. It should also be remembered that even if the Tenth Circuit denies a stay (I won't think they will, but I hope I'm wrong), then Utah can ask the US Supreme Court for a stay. It would go to Justice Sotomayor, but the general practice is for the "Circuit Justice" to present it to the full US Supreme Court. And what do you think the US Supreme Court will do?

    Posted by: MiddleoftheRoader | Dec 23, 2013 7:27:47 PM

  24. According to Equality On Trial website, even if the Tenth Circuit grants the stay, the loser there can appeal, with it going to the Supreme Court Justice over the Tenth, stating:

    "The next step after the appeals court would be a request from the losing party to the Circuit Justice for the Tenth Circuit, who takes up various applications related to cases in that appeals court. The Circuit Justice for the Tenth Circuit is Justice Sonia Sotomayor. She could decide to grant or deny a stay on her own, or ask the full Supreme Court to decide."


    Posted by: Lexis | Dec 23, 2013 8:32:16 PM

  25. @Lexis... hopefully the 10th won't grant a stay. I don't think SCOTUS wants at all to get involved at this point, so whichever way the circuit goes on the stay will be the last word until the 10th circuit rules on the actual case.

    Posted by: Gerry | Dec 23, 2013 9:49:12 PM

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