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US: Same-sex Marriages in Utah Temporarily Halted by Supreme Court

509px-GSLmap2 UTAH

The American Civil Liberties Union were still hopeful yesterday that a decision by a federal court would be upheld by the Tenth Circuit Appeals Court [thanks to stvrsnbrgr for this clarification] even though the Supreme Court has put a stay on same-sex marriage in Utah until the decision is made [see comment below].

The request for the stay was made by the Attorney-General in Utah, while the state appealed a federal court’s striking down of the ban on same-sex marriage. The request for a stay was denied earlier by a federal appeals court.

“Despite today’s decision, we are hopeful that the lower court’s well-reasoned decision will be upheld in the end  and that courts across the country will continue to recognize that all couples should have the freedom to marry”

said Joshua Block, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. 

John Mejia, legal director of the ACLU of Utah also remained upbeat:

“The huge response that we have seen since the federal court’s ruling shows how important the freedom to marry is in the state of Utah. Though future marriages are on hold for now, the state should recognize as valid those marriages that have already been issued, and those couples should continue to be treated as married by the federal government.”

Magleby & Greenwood were the law firm representing the three Utah couples who had brought the challenge to the law. Derek Kitchen and Moudi Sbeity; Karen Archer and Kate Call; and Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge were the three couples, either wishing to be married in Utah or who were legally married elsewhere and wanted their marriage to be recognised by their home state.

The ACLU filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case and has brought federal constitutional challenges of its own against similar laws in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, and Oregon. Following the Supreme Court’s decision striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act – a case in which the ACLU served as co-counsel to Edie Windsor – the ACLU launched the Out for Freedom campaign to achieve the freedom to marry for same-sex couples across the country.

For more information on this case, visit: acluutah.org/legal-work/current-cases/item/574-kitchen-v-herbert

More information on the Out for Freedom campaign can be found at; aclu.org/out-freedom

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2 comments on “US: Same-sex Marriages in Utah Temporarily Halted by Supreme Court

  1. Just to clarify one important point: The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) granted the stay requested by the state of Utah – but the case itself is not before SCOTUS. Utah has appealed the federal judge’s ruling (that struck down Utah’s marriage ban) to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. When the judge would not stay his own ruling, Utah asked the Appeals Court to stay the ruling; they also refused to issue a stay. So Utah went to the only remaining authority, and SCOTUS granted the stay while the case is on appeal in the Tenth Circuit; a ruling is likely this spring. And its decision will almost certainly be appealed – by whichever side loses – to SCOTUS. So, stay tuned.

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