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U.S. Supreme Court Puts Same-Sex Marriage In Utah On Hold

PHOTO: The U-S Supreme Court took action Monday that temporarily stops same-sex couples from tying the knot in Utah. Image courtesy CDC.
PHOTO: The U-S Supreme Court took action Monday that temporarily stops same-sex couples from tying the knot in Utah. Image courtesy CDC.
January 7, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY – The U.S. Supreme Court took action Monday that temporarily stops same-sex couples from tying the knot in Utah.

The high court granted the state of Utah's request to allow it to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples while the matter is being litigated.

Clifford Rosky, board chairman at Equality Utah and a law professor at the University of Utah, says the ruling is a setback for marriage equality in the state.

"This is very disappointing for same-sex couples in Utah,” he says. “Not only the 1,000 couples who have already been married in the last couple of weeks, but the many couples who haven't had an opportunity to marry yet.

“These are people who love each other. Many of them are raising children together."

Rosky adds the state also may take legal action to try to invalidate the same-sex marriages that have taken place.

Last month, U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby overturned Amendment 3, which had amended the Utah state constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to consider the state's appeal to Shelby's ruling in coming weeks.

John Mejia, legal director of the ACLU of Utah, says the U.S. Supreme Court action should not be seen as taking a position on marriage equality.
He says the court often tries to slow down the legal process linked to controversial issues.

Mejia says he believes Judge Shelby's ruling will prevail through the appeals process.

"I think that at the end of the day Judge Shelby is right, that marriage is a fundamental right and that there is no good reason to treat loving couples differently,” he explains. “I would hope that the 10th Circuit sees it that way."

Amendment 3 was approved in 2004 with 66 percent voter support.

There are reports that the state of Utah may spend $2 million on outside counsel in the effort to restore the same-sex marriage ban.

Mejia says the state could appeal the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.


Troy Wilde, Public News Service - UT