As part of their ongoing attempts to ban same-sex marriage in Utah, state officials are planning to make an appeal the decision before the United States Supreme Court.
Last week, district judge Robert Shelby said that it was unconstitutional to ban same-sex marriage in Utah and his ruling led to hundreds of gay and lesbian weddings across the state. Soon after, Governor Gary Herbert said he was not in agreement with the judge’s decision and the state requested a stay.
However, not only did Shelby’s court deny the state’s request for a stay on December 23, but on December 24, the 10th US circuit court of appeals in Denver denied the stay as well. Utah is now making an emergency appeal to the United States Supreme Court.
“Due to the necessity of coordination with outside counsel the filing of the appeal may be delayed for a few days. It is the intent of the Attorney General’s Office to file with the Supreme Court as soon as possible,” read an official statement from the state attorney general’s office.
According to Herbert, several counties have refused to grant marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples and thus the state agencies must comply with the ruling. On the other hand, Shelby said that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage was implemented as recently as 2004 and it clearly violates certain individual’s rights to equal protection under the 14th amendment.
United States Justice Sonya Sotamayor will respond to the state’s appeal as she oversees the 10th circuit court. However, it could take almost a year for the case to reach the court or for the stay to be granted. Utah is the eighteenth state to legalize same-sex marriage in the United States.