Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

US appeals court grants stay to Utah, keeps recognition of gay marriages on hold

FILE - In this Dec. 20, 2013, file photo, Chris Serrano, left, and Clifton Webb kiss after being married, as people wait in line to get licenses outside of the marriage division of the Salt Lake County Clerk's Office, in Salt Lake City. Utah is appealing a federal judge's ruling that officials must recognize gay marriages that took place in the state after a same-sex marriage ban was overturned. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Attorney General Sean Reyes filed an appeal Wednesday, June 4, 2014, sending the case to the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. (AP Photo/Kim Raff, File)

Enlarge Image

FILE - In this Dec. 20, 2013, file photo, Chris Serrano, left, and Clifton Webb kiss after being married, as people wait in line to get licenses outside of the marriage division of the Salt Lake County Clerk's Office, in Salt Lake City. Utah is appealing a federal judge's ruling that officials must recognize gay marriages that took place in the state after a same-sex marriage ban was overturned. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Attorney General Sean Reyes filed an appeal Wednesday, June 4, 2014, sending the case to the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. (AP Photo/Kim Raff, File)

SALT LAKE CITY - A federal appeals court on Thursday approved Utah's request to delay the recognition of more than 1,000 gay marriages.

The decision by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals prolongs the uncertainty for the gay and lesbian couples who married immediately after a judge overturned Utah's same-sex marriage ban and before the U.S. Supreme Court halted them, pending an appeal.

In May, a federal judge said the state's decision to freeze benefits was harming the couples. U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball ordered Utah to start recognizing the marriages Monday, allowing them to proceed with matters such as child custody, medical decisions and inheritance.

But Gov. Gary Herbert and state Attorney General Sean Reyes, both Republicans, appealed late Wednesday and requested the stay Thursday.

Gay rights activists have won 14 lower court cases since a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling last summer. Gay and lesbian couples can marry in 19 states and Washington, D.C., with Oregon and Pennsylvania being the latest states to join the list. In seven other states, a judge has ruled that same-sex marriages should be allowed, but stays in implementing their rulings have been issued pending appeals to higher courts.

In Utah, the temporary stay is in effect until further notice. Plaintiffs have until next Thursday to respond.

The couples married over 17 days in late December and early January after the 2004 ban was overturned. The marriages stopped when the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the ruling, pending an appeal now before the federal appeals court in Denver.

Reyes said in a statement Thursday he recognized the burden on the families stuck in legal limbo. But he said the state believes it's best to wait for higher courts to rule on the ban.

John Mejia, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union in Utah, said the four gay couples who brought the lawsuit are disappointed in what they called the state's "ill-advised" decision to appeal.

The state has spent about $300,000 paying three outside attorneys to defend its ban before the Denver appeals court, Utah attorney general spokeswoman Missy Larsen said. For this case, however, the office plans to continue using internal staff.

___

Follow Brady McCombs at https://twitter.com/BradyMcCombs

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
Sudden Surge: Flood of 2014
Opportunity Magazine — The Bakken
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media