SALT LAKE CITY – The State of Utah appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court Wednesday for an emergency stay on a lower court ruling that orders the state to recognize more than 1,200 same-sex marriages that were performed during a 17-day window last year.
The request for a stay comes on the wake of last week’s 2-1 decision by a three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled against the state’s request for a stay pending the final results of the Amendment 3 court battle. However, the judges issued a temporary 10-day stay on the ruling to allow Utah officials a chance to appeal. The temporary stay ends Monday morning.
The ruling is related to Evans v. Herbert, a lawsuit in which the plaintiffs demand Utah recognize the legality of same-sex marriages performed between Dec. 20, 2013, and Jan. 6, 2014. Legal recognition of the marriages, an action that is currently prohibited under Amendment 3, would extend to same-sex couples the same privileges, protections and rights of marriage afforded to married heterosexual couples.
U.S. District Judge Dale A. Kimball oversaw Evans v. Herbert and ruled that Utah must recognize the marriages and grant them “all the protections, benefits and responsibilities given to all marriages under Utah law.”
Utah’s latest appeal will go to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who oversees the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. If Sotomayor chooses not to issue the stay, the state will seek to have the matter referred to the full Supreme Court.
Amendment 3, Utah’s same-sex marriage ban, was shot down as unconstitutional by U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby on Dec. 20, 2013. Same-sex marriages were performed across the state until Jan. 6, when the Supreme Court issued a stay on Shelby’s ruling pending the outcome of an appeal.
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