Gay Marriage | News | Utah

Utah Governor and AG Desperate to Bring Order in Utah, Halt Gay Marriage 'Chaos'

Utah's Governor Gary Herbert and Acting Attorney General Brian Harbet are panicked about the "chaotic situation" (also known as loving couples getting married) happening in the Beehive State and intend to try to bring about change by court order first thing Monday morning, they said in two statements released yesterday.

HerbertSaid Herbert:

"Yesterday afternoon's ruling from Judge Robert Shelby of the U.S. Federal Court has created a chaotic situation in our state that requires an expedited judicial resolution. Utahns deserve a fair and complete judicial process, and I strongly encourage Judge Shelby to grant the motion for stay until the appeal can be heard and Utah's constitutional defense of traditional marriage restored."

Said Tarbet:

 "We are vigorously pursuing an appeal and we intend to bring a Motion to Stay before Judge Shelby at 9:00 a.m. Monday morning. If he declines to rule at that time, we have already petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit for a temporary stay pending Judge Shelby's decision."

Will Shelby listen? Probably not, says law professor David Cruz:

When a loser in federal court asks for a stay of the court’s judgment in order to preserve the status quo during an appeal, Tenth Circuit rules require the court considering such a motion to consider four factors:  “(a) the likelihood of success on appeal; (b) the threat of irreparable harm if the stay or injunction is not granted; (c) the absence of harm to opposing parties if the stay or injunction is granted; and (d) any risk of harm to the public interest.”  The state official’s arguments on these points in their six-page motion are mighty slim.  I recognize that they filed this motion the same day the trial judge ruled in the case, but they should have been prepared for the possibility that he would rule against them and not stay his judgment.  (After all, that’s what Chief Judge Vaughn Walker did in the federal litigation that held California’s Proposition 8 unconstitutional.)

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  1. Harm, indeed. Is it harm if a hyperreligious majority of demagogues can't impose their belief system on a minority?

    Posted by: Rob | Dec 22, 2013 12:30:11 PM

  2. Chaotic situation? Are you kidding me?

    Posted by: Will | Dec 22, 2013 12:30:55 PM

  3. I hope everyone who wants to get married does so before the stay. If the offices open at 8am Monday they will only have about 1 hour to get married.

    Sad that all those couples were turned away Saturday.

    Posted by: mitch reid | Dec 22, 2013 12:48:23 PM

  4. 'Chaotic situation' (aka loving couples getting married).

    Good one Andy.

    Posted by: SERIOUSLY | Dec 22, 2013 12:49:45 PM

  5. The ruling was very clear. They're the ones creating the chaos.

    Part of their "argument" for the stay is that if the marriages that have already taken place are later declared invalid (which would be unprecedented and highly unlikely) it would cause "irreparable harm" to the couples. Oh, the irony! Concern about harm from the very people seeking to cause the harm.

    Posted by: Ernie | Dec 22, 2013 12:52:19 PM

  6. A stay would only further harm the long oppressed gay residents of Utah. I hope the 10th Circuit will share Judge Shelby's courage and do right by the people.

    Posted by: Rafael | Dec 22, 2013 12:52:44 PM

  7. Because happy people getting married is somehow akin to anarchists rioting at the G-20 summit.

    Posted by: woody | Dec 22, 2013 12:54:14 PM


    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Dec 22, 2013 1:05:22 PM

  9. These two numbnuts will lose their appeal. The majority cannot discriminate against the minority and that's what this is all about. That was the crux of the CA Prop 8 decision and the Supreme Court has ruled.

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Dec 22, 2013 1:13:50 PM

  10. And to add to Mike Ryan above: A religious majority cannot impose their religious dogma on every other citizen. This is a direct violation of the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution.

    Posted by: Aggiecowboy | Dec 22, 2013 1:26:14 PM

  11. Here's the "chaotic situation" that the Governnor and Lt. Gov are really referring to: what happens in the conservative movement when its adherents finally have to face the fact that same-sex marriage is going to become a reality nation-wide - and that the public will learn to gently accept this. Or even worse yet, come to appreciate the contribution that gay couples are making to the institution of marriage. Since SSM tends to become a non-issue very quickly wherever it is instituted, its always possible that public opinion in Utah will turn pro-equality fairly soon. This would be a HUGE embarrassment for the cultural Right.

    Posted by: Mary | Dec 22, 2013 1:33:39 PM

  12. I highly doubt that Shelby will grant a stay... the question is what will the 10th circuit do... I read the rest of David Cruz's post - and agree that in the pre-Windsor world they would probably get the stay... but things have changed quite a bit now - including the fact that people can get Federal Marriage benefits. If the emergency stay is granted, especially based upon what was written in the request it will be highly suspect. I now tend to think the 10th circuit will also refuse the request...

    Posted by: Gerry | Dec 22, 2013 1:36:51 PM

  13. Shelby left zero wiggle room for the 1oth. He rebutted every aspect of the state's defense, even the obviously ridiculous ones. And he now has Kennedy DOMA language (that while states regulate marriage they must do so within the parameters of Constitutional guarantees of equality) that the 10th can not ignore.

    Posted by: SERIOUSLY | Dec 22, 2013 1:47:21 PM

  14. @SERIOUSLY - agree...if the 10th ignores all that it will be obvious they are pandering.

    Posted by: Gerry | Dec 22, 2013 1:50:22 PM

  15. If Herbert and Tarbet do not restore the Sanctity of Bigotry soon people might begin to notice the absence of any harm caused by people having equal rights.

    They should try prayer. Nothing fails like prayer.

    Posted by: Stephen Rider | Dec 22, 2013 2:00:52 PM

  16. The "chaos" argument would have worked a year ago. A year ago Judge Shelby would have automatically issued a stay, even if he had authored a judgment as strong as this.

    It is not a year ago.

    Posted by: Glenn I | Dec 22, 2013 2:11:32 PM

  17. "Yesterday afternoon's ruling ... has created a chaotic situation ... . The sky is falling! The sky is falling!"

    Chicken Littles Gary Herbert and Brian Harbet

    Posted by: RonCharles | Dec 22, 2013 2:16:56 PM

  18. Chaos? Loving, committed couple of the same sex getting married, civilly? That is chaos? Methinks that the good governor and the AG perhaps refer to a different dictionary than I do.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Dec 22, 2013 3:16:36 PM

  19. I guess my definition of chaos is totally different from the governor and AG.....If this is "chaos" to them, what would their response be to real chaos? This tells me neither the governor or the AG in Utah has the ability to differentiate between what is real chaos and maybe the chaos in their heads?!!?!!!

    Posted by: Bernie | Dec 22, 2013 3:22:56 PM

  20. Not unlike the situation in New Jersey, the good governor should follow the example of Christie. He is fighting a losing battle here.
    He can insult the "activist judge" in every way he wants outside the courtroom. But he is not going to win.

    Posted by: simon | Dec 22, 2013 3:27:00 PM

  21. Will be interesting to see what the 10th Circuit does. It really is all in their hands at this juncture. This is a bit different than New Jersey considering in Jersey, there was a ruling years before by the state's supreme court, guaranteeing equality for same-sex couples in the state. 10th Circuit is generally regarded as conservative...if they don't grant a stay, that would be a clear indication that Utah doesn't have a leg to stand on in this case, and considering the conservative makeup of the 10th Circuit, that would be another big deal. We'll just have to see what happens.

    Posted by: Francis | Dec 22, 2013 3:53:03 PM

  22. It hinges on the 14th amendment.

    What it comes down to is whether a court is going to declare that the fundamental right of every individual citizen to choose the marital partner of their choice without government interference somehow suddenly doesn't exist, after hundreds of years of saying otherwise.

    Either the court says that gay people are incapable of making the same commitment to each other that infertile straight people do, or that gay people aren't actually citizens, or that same sex couples have the same contistutionally protected right to marry as opposite sex couples do.

    Shelby pretty much demolished any other options. He even quoted Scalia while doing so.

    Posted by: Lymis | Dec 22, 2013 3:57:54 PM

  23. It is amazing that all the courts so far have come to more or less the same conclusion except may be the Supreme Court regarded this as a state issue and didn't want to weigh in. The appeal court won't have that option I think.

    Posted by: simon | Dec 22, 2013 4:16:43 PM


    -- Evil me commented on the Deseret News how unprepared the Utah government was
    ---It comes down to the fact that mormons, especially the men, have NO capacity to think what might happen if they are wrong or lose.
    Notice Mitt Romney's entire family act surprised when he lost, and Mitt having no concession speech ready in case

    Posted by: Bob | Dec 22, 2013 6:32:19 PM

  25. I can understand their concern, given their hysterical teachings....unfortunately the fish rots from the head down. Perhaps one should make rolly-pooly fish head stew.

    Posted by: Woodroad34 | Dec 22, 2013 6:55:06 PM

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