UTAH: Tenth Circuit Court Denies Request For Permanent Stay, “Go To SCOTUS”

Via press release from the ACLU of Utah:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit denied Utah’s request to suspend a lower court’s ruling ordering the state to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who were legally married after a federal court struck down a state ban, but before the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily halted additional marriages from taking place. Over 1,000 same-sex couples married in Utah during that time period. In May, a federal court ordered the state to recognize those marriages as legally valid, but Utah had asked that the lower court’s order be suspended as the appeals process continued. Today’s ruling denies that request, but does give the state 10 days to decide to seek a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court.

The couples are represented by American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Utah, and Strindberg & Scholnick, LLC, who sought the preliminary injunction for the marriages to be recognized while their lawsuit continues. “It’s a relief to our clients and the 1,000 other lawfully wedded same-sex couples in our state that their marriages will be recognized throughout this process,” said John Mejia, legal director of the ACLU of Utah. “We continue to fight to ensure that these loving and committed couples get the permanent recognition they deserve.”

“The court of appeals has granted these families the peace of mind of knowing that they will not be excluded from the protection and dignity that only marriage can provide,” said Joshua Block, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. “We’re grateful that these couples will be able to move forward with their lives as this case moves forward in the courts.” The lawsuit is separate from the original federal case challenging Utah’s marriage ban, which was recently also struck down by the 10th Circuit. That case was brought by the law firm of Magleby & Greenwood on behalf of three other couples. The ACLU filed a friend-of-the-court brief in that case.

Tonight’s ruling was issued with a temporary 10-day stay to give the state time to appeal the US Supreme Court. The stay expires on July 21st.

UPDATE: Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes says he will rush to SCOTUS.

“In response to the United States Court of Appeal for the Tenth Circuit denial of stay in Evans v. Utah, the state is prepared to file an Application for Stay before the United States Supreme Court in the coming days to avoid uncertainty,” according to a statement from the attorney general’s office. “The State recognizes that pending cases regarding same-sex marriage in Utah impact the lives of many individuals and families and is diligently seeking uniform certainty through proper and orderly legal processes until Kitchen v. Herbert is resolved.”