WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court has halted same-sex ‘marriages’ in Utah while an appeal is underway.
“The application for stay presented to Justice Sotomayor and by her referred to the court is granted,” a short order released by the court today outlined. “The permanent injunction issued by the United States District Court for the District of Utah … is stayed pending final disposition of the appeal by the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.”
As previously reported, a federal judge appointed by Barack Obama declared Utah’s ban on same-sex “marriage” unconstitutional last month, asserting that it violates the right to equal protection under the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
“The State’s current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason,” U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby wrote. “Accordingly, the court finds that these laws are unconstitutional.”
The state had argued that the law was necessary to protect interests in procreation and child-rearing, but Shelby contended that the state failed to show how homosexual “marriage” would harm heterosexuals.
“In the absence of such evidence, the State’s unsupported fears and speculations are insufficient to justify the State’s refusal to dignify the family relationships of its gay and lesbian citizens,” he stated.
The attorney general’s office then filed an appeal with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals following Shelby’s ruling, but was denied. Therefore, it took its motion to the U.S. Supreme Court, requesting an emergency stay.
“A stay is urgently needed to preserve these prerogatives pending appeal and, if necessary, this Court’s ultimate review, and to minimize the enormous disruption to the State and its citizens of having to potentially ‘unwind’ thousands more same-sex marriages should this Court ultimately conclude, as the State strongly maintains, that the district court’s judgment and injunction exceed its constitutional authority,” the legal brief filed with the court outlined.
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed, halting any further ceremonies while the case is under appeal.
Attorney James E. Magleby, who is representing those who are seeking to void the state’s marriage law, told reporters today that it “is obviously disappointing for the families in Utah who need the protection of marriage and now have to wait to get married until the appeal is over. … Every day that goes by, same-sex couples and their children are being harmed by not being able to marry and be treated equally.”
However, Utah Governor Gary Herbert said that the stay should have been issued weeks ago pending appeal.
“Clearly, the stay should have been granted with the original District Court decision in order to have avoided the uncertainty created by this unprecedented change,” he stated, according to the Associated Press.
Attorney General Sean Reyes agreed.
“This is the uncertainty that we were trying to avoid by asking the district court for a stay immediately after its decision,” he explained. “It is very unfortunate that so many Utah citizens have been put into this legal limbo.”
Utah’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex “marriage” was passed in 2004 during the November election with 66 percent of the vote.