UTAH: State Supreme Court Orders Halt To Same-Sex Adoption Cases

Last month the state of Utah filed an emergency petition with the state Supreme Court, demanding that all pending adoptions by gay couples be denied. The state Supreme Court has granted the stay petition and a local judge is furious. Via the Associated Press:

The stay was granted Friday night in response to a Utah Attorney General’s Office request for clarity on whether the department can issue the birth certificates if directed by court order. The attorney general’s office praised the decision, saying the stay will remain in effect until the issue has been resolved by the court. The court has not yet announced a date for oral arguments. The stay appears to apply to a district judge’s order requiring Attorney General Sean Reyes and two top health officials to explain the state’s refusal to recognize a same-sex couple’s adoption, the attorney general’s office said. Third District Judge Andrew Stone ordered the officials to appear at a June 16 hearing to show why they should not be held in contempt for what he called “their willful disregard and refusal” to honor the adoption. Stone’s order, dated May 7, does not identify the child or the two women who adopted the child. The two were among more than 1,000 gay and lesbian partners who married after a federal judge overturned Utah’s same-sex marriage ban Dec. 20.

UPDATE: Local Fox TV reporter Ben Winslow points out that the above AP report incorrectly names a judge as having issued the contempt order. In fact, it was the couple’s lawyer who filed the complaint in advance of the stay order by the state Supreme Court.

Shane Marx, an attorney representing the couple, filed an order to show cause in Salt Lake City’s 3rd District Court, demanding Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, Dr. David Patton, the executive director of the Utah Dept. of Health, and State Registrar Janice Houston appear in court “and show cause why they should not be held in contempt for their willful disregard and refusal to obey” a judge’s order to issue the birth certificate. “The parents are the parents under Utah law,” said Clifford Rosky, the chairman of the gay rights group Equality Utah, who was acting as a spokesman for Marx. “They have an adoption, they have a court order say they shall be named on the birth certificate, and the state of Utah is simply defying that court order.”