Gay Marriage | Sonia Sotomayor | Supreme Court | Utah

Utah Attorney General Files Request for Stay of Gay Marriage Ruling with Supreme Court


The Utah Attorney General's office has filed a request with Justice Sonia Sotomayor at the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay pending appeal of Judge Robert Shelby's ruling striking down the state's ban on same-sex marriage

Sotomayor could rule on her own or ask the rest of the court to weigh in.

The Washington Blade reports:

Attorneys for Utah officials — Gov. Gary Herbert (R) and newly sworn-in Attorney General Sean Reyes — filed the 26-page stay request with U.S. Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who’s responsible for the Tenth Circuit.

“As a result of the district court’s injunction, numerous same-sex marriages are now occurring every day in Utah,” the request states. “And each one is an affront not only to the interests of the state and its citizens in being able to define marriage through ordinary democratic channels…but also to this court’s unique role as final arbiter of the profoundly important constitutional question that is so carefully preserved in Windsor.”

The Blade adds:

Now that the stay request is before the high court, Sotomayor has the option of referring the request to all of her colleagues on the bench, who would provide the final word on whether a stay would be granted on same-sex marriages.

However, if Sotomayor goes it alone and decides against the stay, Utah officials may select any justice on the Supreme Court — such as a justice with an anti-gay reputation like U.S. Associate Justice Antonin Scalia — and make a final attempt to request a stay.

Doug NeJaime, who’s gay and law professor at the University of California, Irvine, said he expects Sotomayor to refer the request to the entire court, but isn’t able make a prediction on what will happen.

Read the state's application for the stay HERE.

ReyesUtah's new attorney general Sean Reyes spoke about the marriage ruling in a Salt Lake Tribune profile shortly after his swearing in on Monday:

Reyes also addressed the current same-sex-marriage litigation that he is stepping into, with the state expected to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to stay a ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby striking down Utah’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriages and allowing more than a thousand Utah couples to wed.

"I’m starting day one with a case involving the defense of marriage. I’m not going to talk today, at least here, about the merits of the case, but this could be a potentially divisive case," Reyes said. "I don’t think it needs to be divisive. With the respect and good will from those on both sides of the issue, I think we can disagree in a healthy way and still remember we are all still Utahns."

After Monday’s ceremony, Reyes was asked if he viewed marriage to be a constitutionally protected right. Reyes said "marriage, as a fundamental right, has been developed in a number of cases with the Supreme Court."

The request also comes just hours before Sotomayor is scheduled to helm the New Year's Eve ball drop in Times Square.

UPDATE: Buzzfeed adds -

“Justice Sotomayor has called for a response due by noon E.S.T. on Friday, January 3, 2014,” Appellate Daily’s Michelle Olsen reported Tuesday afternoon, likely meaning that Sotomayor will be able to keep her plans to lead the Times Square ball drop at midnight Tuesday to ring in 2014.

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  1. Good. Law and the whims of activist judges should never conquer the will of the people.

    Posted by: Rick | Dec 31, 2013 4:08:58 PM

  2. The sooner these bigots fail, the faster they'll reassess their bigotry.

    Posted by: Jay | Dec 31, 2013 4:14:04 PM

  3. Marriage equality is a civil right in America.

    Posted by: steve | Dec 31, 2013 4:32:13 PM

  4. Let the bigots put it on record, let them have their last kicks of a dying horse moment, for in their lifetimes, judgement shall fall upon them for what they have done.We gay people know our truth and I really do pity these people who chose not to open their eyes.

    Posted by: westy | Dec 31, 2013 4:37:46 PM

  5. I love the irony in asking the Justice who is "officially" ushering in 2014 to help Utah revert to 1914. Justice Sotomayor welcomes us all to the future of literally tomorrow ... Utah, you are invited along for the ride. Come along kicking and screaming if you like, but you WILL be coming along!

    Posted by: Zlick | Dec 31, 2013 4:39:14 PM

  6. @Rick - So you would no doubt be delighted to return to the days of miscegenation laws, Jim Crow and school segregation, correct? Return to the days when every school child was forced to listen to sectarian sermons over the public school PA system, regardless of their own personal religious beliefs? To the days when it was a criminal offense to posses birth control, including condoms?

    All of these, and so much more, were struck down by "activist judges" who used the Supreme Law of the Land (that would be the Constitution, not the Bible) to "conquer the will of the people."

    Posted by: Gregory In Seattle | Dec 31, 2013 4:45:45 PM

  7. Those "activist judges" are simply fulfilling their role as the third coequal branch of government.

    Posted by: The milkman | Dec 31, 2013 4:56:16 PM

  8. And to add to what The Milkman said, those "activist judges" are ensuring that the will of the majority does not trample on the rights of a minority. Just because the people voted does not supersede the Constitution.

    Posted by: bkmn | Dec 31, 2013 4:59:49 PM

  9. @ Rick,

    Marriage equality is the will of the people in the majority of U.S. regions. As always, the will of the U.S. majority will conquer the sorry-ass fundamentalist Christians in the Deep South. Oh, I'm sorry, Rick. Did I inadvertently insult your relatives? Do they keep an old refrigerator on the front porch and go to Bible study on Wednesday evenings? Please let your Uncle Cletus and Aunt Hattie know that they had better get their ass in gear. The rest of the American nation will have a good laugh about it. Well, well. Look who doesn't have a sense of humor.

    Posted by: Artie_in_Lauderdale | Dec 31, 2013 5:11:11 PM

  10. Rick's so funny, because it's obvious that "the will of the people" at this website would vote to ban him.

    Posted by: JudgeJudy | Dec 31, 2013 5:15:57 PM

  11. JudgeJudy; Well, to be fair this time he changed the subject of his trolling. It's not a misoginistic one in general, or a diva obsession this time.

    The worst part is not being a troll (wich is pathetic per se) is being a boring and predictable one

    Posted by: jjose712 | Dec 31, 2013 5:19:52 PM

  12. The Constitution always trumps the whims of an ignorant electorate.

    Their stay request is rather pointless by now. 1000 couples are married. They missed their window with one corrupt AG and a new one that seems rather dimwitted. But, hey, why not keep wasting that UT taxpayer money ... Happy New Year!

    Posted by: Ernie | Dec 31, 2013 5:29:41 PM

  13. According to Michelle Olsen @ Appellate Daily Sotomayor will issue a ruling by noon Fri Jan 3.

    Posted by: SERIOUSLY | Dec 31, 2013 5:44:46 PM

  14. Rick is not exactly a troll. He exhibits the kind of Freudian masochistic tendency to be hammered here in order to punish himself for being the person he doesn't want to be.

    Posted by: simon | Dec 31, 2013 5:46:16 PM

  15. Seriously: you've misread Appellate Daily. Sotomayor has asked the other side to respond to Utah's arguments by Friday noon EST. Nothing more.

    Posted by: Bingo | Dec 31, 2013 5:52:26 PM

  16. Why would they let an oily bohunk goombah bigot like Scalia overrule a Wise Latina like Sotomayor?

    Posted by: Rick in Derrick | Dec 31, 2013 6:27:39 PM

  17. Sotomayor will refer to the entire court, because if she would deny the stay, Utah would ask again anyway. I think the court will deny the stay.

    Posted by: Gerry | Dec 31, 2013 6:32:16 PM

  18. Why is anyone still replying to Rick/Jason/Ratbastard? It's possible to determine if he has written another rant within half a sentence at most without even looking at the name.

    Posted by: Steve | Dec 31, 2013 6:49:44 PM

  19. To give it a Freudian spin, Rick is a masochist who is at this moment jerking off while reading the responses to his posts.

    Posted by: simon | Dec 31, 2013 7:07:22 PM

  20. Thanks Bingo. Reading the application & rushing to get pizza out of the oven.

    Being as the filing was done on New Year's Eve I was puzzling about what kind of time frame Sotomayor would have with an 'emergency' request. Apparently she sets the timetable.

    Posted by: SERIOUSLY | Dec 31, 2013 8:33:30 PM

  21. Pulling out my crystal ball (on a very appropriate night, btw), I'm going to say that SS will deny the petition, arguing that the 10th ruled correctly. Utah will then appeal, somewhat needlessly, to Scalia, who would issue a stay in his heart of hearts, but that might lose him another case w/ Kennedy, so perhaps he'll hold back. In this case, since there is no immediate harm, issuing a ruling on the petition is like ruling on the overall case.

    Posted by: anon | Dec 31, 2013 8:54:08 PM

  22. Application to SCOTUS
    With no new avenues of attack they've rehashed the old as best they could.

    '... state restriction of marriage to traditional definition were written not to oppress homosexuals but to further vital social ends.'

    Kennedy is not going to let that go unchallenged. It's a direct contradiction to what he wrote in Windsor. The anti-gay animus to LGBT was stated, recorded & obvious. Laughably, this is the exact same group that was the financial backing & sponsor of DOMA. Now arguing 'states rights' to discriminate, while claiming no animus.

    Completely disregarding Shelby's stating that 'marriage is marriage, it's neither hetero or homo it's just marriage' they now want to challenge SCOTUS to tell them the same thing. Their insistence that same-sex marriage is 'something new' in civil rights is ludicrous. As if inter-racial marriage was something new or African American marriage was something new. All were opposed by organized religions and state leaders claiming they were defending traditional social mores.

    Though they again brought up their approved list of social science & opinion papers to claim that a mom & a dad are the 'optimum' package for child rearing at the very least they weren't stupid enough to include Regnerus. (Hear that Russia ... take a hint.) Even though they refuse to hear the answers .... Gays treasure kids, two gay dads in Arizona have adopted 14. (They should be given a medal of honor.) What heteros take for granted we go to great expense and effort to make possible. We treasure kids. But the legal answer is that the right to marriage is not subject to having children. You don't require it of heteros. You can't require it of homos.

    A new poll in Utah on marriage equality might surprise a lot of people. Since 2004 a lot of things have changed. Just since same sex weddings took place a lot more has changed. One of the best aspects of the Utah ruling was Judge Shelby & the 10th decisions to not issue a stay. In the immediacy of the hours directly after his ruling everyday LGBT couples showed up en masse to participate in the legal recognition of their commitments to love and family. It was all over the airways & internet. And a funny thing happened. People who had opposed equality now had faces, lots of faces all at once that didn't fit with the images they'd been taught of the evil homosexual. Here were the real people they'd been told to fight instead of the hypothetical. The reality hit home and they took to the blogs and internet and newspapers and radio and said 'we've been lied to, they're just like us'. A real everyday person like their neighbors & co-workers instead of the hypothetical homo monsters.

    Happy New Year Everyone!

    Posted by: SERIOUSLY | Dec 31, 2013 11:18:36 PM

  23. Note that Justice Sotomayor granted an interim stay in another matter while giving the respondents (in this case, the U.S. government) until Friday to respond:

    I certainly hope this bodes well for our case. Happy New Year, all!

    Posted by: Mike_in_Houston | Dec 31, 2013 11:26:58 PM

  24. There are already more than 2,000 new gay married couples in Utah. Think of all the Mormon families that now have new gay sons-in-law or daughters-in-law. Congrats to them! It's called progress if that makes them happy, or karma if it doesn't.

    Posted by: Ninong | Dec 31, 2013 11:42:41 PM

  25. It should be noted that Utah's filing with Justice Sotomayor includes as appendices just Shelby's decision, order, refusal of stay, and also the 10th-circuit's refusal of stay.

    So no need to hunt those other things down.

    Posted by: Randy | Jan 1, 2014 12:30:55 AM

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