10th Circuit Court denies Utah’s request for same-sex marriage stay

Posted at 5:22 PM, Dec 24, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-24 23:16:08-05

DENVER -- A federal appeals court rejected yet another request by the state of Utah to halt same-sex marriage in the state.

In a ruling issued Tuesday evening, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied the state's request for a stay on the ruling that declared Amendment 3 unconstitutional. The decision by the 10th Circuit means that same-sex marriages can resume on Thursday.

"Having considered the district court’s decision and the parties’ arguments concerning the stay factors, we conclude that a stay is not warranted. Accordingly, we deny Defendants-Appellants’ emergency motions for a stay pending appeal and for a temporary stay," Judges Holmes and Bacharach wrote. (Scroll down to read the full document.)

The court also denied the state's request for a stay pending appeal, but did say they would ask for the appeals process to be expedited.

In response, the Utah Attorney General's Office told FOX 13 it would seek an emergency stay with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who oversees the 10th Circuit. That request would be filed Thursday morning, said attorney general's spokesman Ryan Bruckman.

"We're disappointed the stay was not granted and we will continue the appeal," he said.

On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby overturned Utah's Amendment 3, which defines marriage as solely between a man and a woman, saying it violated gay and lesbian couples' due process and equal protection rights under the U.S. Constitution.

The decision by the 10th Circuit is the fourth time a federal court has rejected requests by the state to halt same-sex marriages. If the U.S. Supreme Court declines to issue a stay, same-sex marriages will continue to be performed throughout the length of the appeal.

Any decision is likely more than a year away, said Troy Booher, an appellate lawyer with Zimmerman, Jones, Booher, who has argued before the 10th Circuit.

"You're going to get a three judge panel in the 10th Circuit that's going to decide the appeal," he told FOX 13. "You have no idea which of the three judges will be on that panel. There's really no way to predict how the 10th Circuit is going to deal with this case."

Booher said with briefings and other filings, arguments could be held by November. A ruling, he said, is not likely until 2015.

Watch FOX 13 News and for updates.

10th Circuit Court document: