10th Circuit Court won’t stop order that Utah must recognize same-sex marriages

Posted at 5:30 PM, Jul 11, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-12 00:57:26-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- A federal appeals court has refused to halt an order that Utah must recognize more than 1,200 same-sex marriages performed in the state after Amendment 3 was overturned.

In an order issued late Friday, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request from the Utah Attorney General's Office to halt recognition of the marriages. However, the court said it would institute a temporary stay until July 21,  giving the state time to go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Read the 10th Circuit Court ruling here:

Utah Attorney General's spokeswoman Missy Larsen told FOX 13 they would file a request for a stay with the U.S. Supreme Court next week. That request is expected to be filed with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who oversees the 10th Circuit.

Read the statement from the Utah Attorney General's Office:

"In response to the United States Court of Appeal for the Tenth Circuit denial of stay in Evans v. Utah, the State is prepared to file an Application for Stay before the United States Supreme Court in the coming days to avoid uncertainty, as noted by the dissenting Judge on the Tenth Circuit. The State recognizes that pending cases regarding same-sex marriage in Utah impact the lives of many individuals and families and is diligently seeking uniform certainty through proper and orderly legal processes until Kitchen v Herbert is resolved."

Governor Gary Herbert's office said Friday the U.S. Supreme Court must decide the issue.

Read the statement from the governor's office:

"The governor agrees with Judge Kelly who wrote in his dissent that the state and its citizens are better served by obtaining complete, final judicial resolution of these issues. The governor believes that such resolution can only come from the Supreme Court."

The news of the 10th Circuit ruling thrilled two of the plaintiffs, Marina Gomberg and Elenor Heyborne.

"We won?!?!" they screamed when told by FOX 13 the court's decision.

Matthew Barraza is also a plaintiff in the case, and he said they seek equality.

"We're just wanting our family to be treated like any other family and want our son to have all the protection that he can," he said. "During that window our marriages were legal. We did everything we were supposed to do: we had a ceremony, we said I do, exchanged vows and everything like that, and so I really don't know what the harm is in recognizing those marriages."

His husband, Tony Milner, said they are cautiously optimistic.

"Let's just say we have a bottle of champagne waiting in the fridge, and it's been waiting there for the past six months," Milner said. "So hopefully on the 21st we'll be able to open up that bottle of champagne."

More than 1,200 same-sex marriages were performed in Utah after a federal judge struck down Utah’s Amendment 3, which defines marriage as solely between a man and a woman (and does not recognize anything else). Governor Gary Herbert ordered the state not to recognize the marriages, or provide benefits to them -- including adoptions or name changes.

A detailed account of same-sex marriages performed in Utah's 29 counties during the 17-days it was allowed.

A detailed account of same-sex marriages performed in Utah's 29 counties during the 17-days it was allowed.

Four couples and the ACLU of Utah sued over the governor's directive. U.S. District Court Judge Dale Kimball granted a preliminary injunction, ordering the state to recognize the marriages.

The decision from the 10th Circuit Court was 2-1. It was the same panel of judges who also ruled Utah's Amendment 3 was unconstitutional.