The Supreme Court has put Utah's same-sex marriages on hold pending appeal of the case.
Sotomayor apparently referred the matter to the full Court rather than rule independently, which she had the option to do.
Reads the order:
"The application for stay presented to Justice Sotomayor and by her referred to the Court is granted. The permanent injunction issued by the United States District Court for the District of Utah, case No. 2:13-cv-217, on December 20, 32013, is stayed pending final disposition of the appeal by the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit."
Writes Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog:
The order appeared to have the support of the full Court, since there were no noted dissents. The ruling can be interpreted as an indication that the Court wants to have further exploration in lower courts of the basic constitutional question of state power to limit marriage to a man and a woman. Had it refused the state’s request for delay, that would have at least left the impression that the Court was comfortable allowing same-sex marriages to go forward in the 33 states where they are still banned.
Since the Monday order provided no explanation, it was not clear which of the arguments made by state officials had been convincing to the Justices. The state had argued, among other things, that U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby’s decision nullifying Utah’s ban had preempted the power of the Supreme Court to be the final arbiter on that question. The state also had contended that its interest in enforcing its ban would have been undercut by a refusing of a stay. And it had said that it would be difficult to untangle marriages that had occurred in the meantime, if the ban were ultimately upheld in the courts.
The stay will remain until the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decides whether to uphold or overturn Shelby's ruling.
Developing (refresh for updates)…