Utah AG’s Office delays appeal to U.S. Supreme Court on gay marriage

Posted at 9:59 AM, Dec 26, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-26 12:00:51-05

SALT LAKE CITY — A spokesman for the Utah Attorney General’s Office told FOX 13 the office is not expected to file an emergency request with the U.S. Supreme Court to halt same-sex marriage licenses from being issued “for a few days.”

The state had said Tuesday it would file a request with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, after the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver rejected the request. On Thursday, attorney general’s spokesman Ryan Bruckman said the office was coordinating with outside counsel before proceeding.

“The attorney general’s office is working to prepare the appeal to the Supreme Court on the 10th Circuit’s denial of a stay. Due to the necessity of coordination with outside counsel the filing of the appeal may be delayed for a few days,” he told FOX 13’s Ben Winslow. “It is the intent of the AG’s office to file with the Supreme Court as soon as possible.”

The delay means that same-sex marriages would continue to be performed in Utah until the nation’s top court decides. Justice Sotomayor, who oversees the 10th Circuit and Utah federal courts, could either grant or deny the stay, or she could ask the entire U.S. Supreme Court to decide the issue.

An appeal of U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby’s ruling that declared Amendment 3 unconstitutional is still pending in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. If the Supreme Court denies Utah’s request to halt same-sex marriage licenses from being issued, those marriages would continue to happen throughout the appeals process — which could be decided by 2015.

As of Thursday morning, all of Utah’s 29 counties were issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples — with the exception of tiny Piute County, which was issuing no licenses to any couple, gay or straight.

The county clerk is on vacation, commissioners said.