Judge could rule on emergency stay for same-sex marriage, Monday

Posted at 1:18 PM, Dec 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-22 19:20:03-05

UPDATE: The 10th Circuit Court denied the Emergency Motion for Stay Sunday.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Attorney General’s Office filed a motion with the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver asking for an emergency stay to halt same-sex marriages by Monday.

Filings against the emergency stay were submitted Saturday, and Gov. Gary Herbert sent a letter to county clerks advising them on how to proceed in the interim.

A federal judge declared Utah’s Amendment Three, which defines marriage as solely between a man and a woman, as unconstitutional, Friday.

Judge Robert J. Shelby’s ruling comes after a lawsuit was filed by three same-sex couples against Gov. Gary Herbert and former Utah Attorney General John Swallow, stating the law infringed on their rights to due process and equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Poll: Should same-sex marriages continue in Utah?

Lawyers for the couples who sued the state filed the opposition papers saying a federal judge already found there were harms imposed by Utah’s Amendment Three, and halting it – even temporarily – constitutes irreparable injury.

Shelby has scheduled a hearing Monday at 9 a.m. on the state’s request to halt same-sex marriages.

If Shelby declines to issue a stay, the state will then ask the 10th U.S. Circuit Court to do so. Any arguments on appeals aren’t likely to be heard for some time.

There was some confusion at the Weber County Clerk’s office Saturday, as officials said they intended to open for special hours in order to issue marriage licenses, but they ultimately decided against it. About 1,000 people turned up at the building.

In a post on their Facebook page, Equality Utah said, “Worst case scenario we will only have 1 hour in which marriages can be performed by the respective county clerks.”

In the post titled, “Everything you need to know about getting married tomorrow morning” Equality Utah said they had confirmed that Salt Lake and Weber county clerks would be open and ready to marry people “exactly at 8am”. The post advised couples to download and fill out their applications online ahead of time to expedite the process.

Brandie Balken, Executive Director of Equality Utah, confirmed the details of the posting to FOX 13 News over the phone Sunday.