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Amicus Briefs Pile in for Federal Appeals Court Challenges to Gay Marriage Bans in Oklahoma and Utah

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals is considering cases challenging gay marriage bans in Oklahoma and Utah and midnight on Tuesday was a deadline for groups to submit amicus briefs in the case.

OklahomaThe court has been overwhelmed, the AP reports:

More than 50 groups, organizations and coalitions have weighed in on gay marriage cases in Utah and Oklahoma (plaintiffs Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin, pictured right) with supporting court briefs – giving a Denver-based federal appeals court thousands of pages of arguments to consider.

A total of 27 friend of the court briefs urging the court to make gay marriage legal in the two states were submitted before the Tuesday midnight deadline. In addition to a group of Western Republicans and national associations of sociologists and psychologists, a brief was sent in by a conglomerate of 46 companies including Starbucks, Pfizer, eBay, Facebook, Google and Levi Strauss.

SchneidermanAlso among those filing amicus briefs - 14 state attorneys general. Among them was NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who sent this press release:

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has joined 14 other state attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in an appeal of the successful challenges to laws prohibiting same-sex marriage in Utah and Oklahoma. The multi-state brief, led by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, counters arguments made by those states in defense of their restrictive marriage laws, and presents the experiences of states where same-sex marriage is legal or will soon be legal.

The brief presents arguments in support of the right of same-sex couples to marry and observes that the institution of marriage remains strong and thriving in states where marriage equality is the law. The brief was filed in connection with two cases: Kitchen v. Herbert and Bishop v. Smith. The filing is consistent with Attorney General Schneiderman’s long commitment to ensuring marriage equality. The filing also follows an amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court last year in United States v. Windsor, in which Attorney General Schneiderman successfully argued that the Defense of Marriage Act violated the U.S. Constitution.

You can read the brief from the attorneys general here.

KaplanIn related news, Equality on Trial reports that a request to intervene in the Utah case has been rejected:

Three same-sex couples who had previously filed a request to intervene in Kitchen v. Herbert, the Tenth Circuit appeal of the challenge to Utah’s same-sex marriage ban, recently asked the Tenth Circuit for the opportunity to participate in the oral arguments on April 10.

Their earlier request was filed by Roberta Kaplan, who argued at the Supreme Court on behalf of Edith Windsor that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. This follow-up request was also filed by Kaplan, who’s representing these couples pro bono.

But the Tenth Circuit has rejected this new request, just as it did the previous one, with no comment.

Oral arguments in the Utah case are scheduled to go before the court on April 10.

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