10th Circuit Court grants stay of same-sex marriage recognition in Utah

Posted at 11:30 AM, Jun 05, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY -- A federal appeals court has granted a request by the state to halt recognition of same-sex marriages performed here in Utah.

In an order issued late Thursday, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver granted the state's request for a temporary stay. The court gave the gay couples suing Utah until next Thursday to respond.

Read the order from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals:

"We appreciate the circuit court granting the stay request and acknowledging the need for more time to allow all parties a chance to address such important issues," Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said in a statement late Thursday to FOX 13.

In the request filed Thursday morning with the appeals court, the Utah Attorney General's Office asked to stop U.S. District Court Judge Dale Kimball's order. The judge set a Monday deadline for the state to appeal or begin recognizing more than 1,200 same-sex marriages performed after Amendment 3 was overturned.

Read the filing with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals here:

Four couples and the ACLU of Utah sued the state after Governor Gary Herbert ordered Utah agencies not to recognize the marriages.

In his statement to FOX 13, Reyes said the state "recognizes the deep burden placed on families who must continue to wait for a final decision regarding their rights and those of their children, any decision by  the highest courts that results in undoing what the District Court has granted could be more disruptive than awaiting certainty and finality."

Reyes said in his statement the lawsuit filed over same-sex marriage recognition and the appeal of Amendment 3 are now "are inseparably intertwined."

"Those of us working on the case take no pleasure in prolonging the legal process, but to immediately recognize benefits or marriages performed during the 17-day period is premature pending the outcomes of these other decisions," Reyes said.

Read the full statement from Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes:

Reyes statement

In response, ACLU of Utah Legal Director John Mejia noted that Judge Kimball ruled the two cases were not intertwined.

"We're disappointed in the state's decision. We think that it's ill-advised and a waste of taxpayer dollars," Mejia told FOX 13. "Judge Kimball's order was clear and well-reasoned, and I think at this point they should have given up. The better course of action would be to recognize these valid marriages and let these families go on with their lives."

In a statement, Governor Herbert's office said he has been in contact with Reyes over the decision to appeal.

"With so many cases stemming from the same legal questions, it is important that clarity and finality are provided by the highest courts," said spokesman Marty Carpenter.

Marina GombergIn an interview with FOX 13 on Thursday, lawsuit plaintiff Marina Gomberg, who married her wife, Elenor Heyborne, said she was not surprised by the state's decision to appeal, but "disappointed."

"There's this sort of painful irony in the fact that we are sort-of paying for our delayed equality in that our taxpayer dollars are funding this," she said.

The Utah Pride Center issued a statement on Thursday, criticizing the governor and attorney general.

Read the Utah Pride Center's statement here:

Utah Pride Center statementRecently, Reyes met with representatives of the Utah Pride Center to talk about "building bridges," AG's spokeswoman Missy Larsen said. The two sides did not discuss the appeals of the same-sex marriage rulings.

RELATED: FOX 13's coverage of the Amendment 3 appeal

RELATED: Read the court filings in the Amendment 3 appeal