U.S. Supreme Court grants stay, halts recognition of same-sex marriage in Utah

Posted at 3:03 PM, Jul 18, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-18 23:33:27-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- The U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay requested by the state of Utah, halting recognition of same-sex marriages performed here.

The ruling issued by the full court sent the case back to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to be litigated. Four gay couples and the ACLU sued Utah after Governor Gary Herbert ordered state agencies not to recognize more than 1,200 same-sex marriages performed after Amendment 3 was struck down by a federal judge.

Read the order from the U.S. Supreme Court:

SCOTUS ruling same-sex marriage recEarlier this year, a federal judge granted an injunction, ordering the state to recognize those marriages.

Utah appealed that decision to the 10th Circuit Court, which also ordered Utah to recognize the marriages but delayed that order from taking effect until July 21 to give Utah time to ask Justice Sonia Sotomayor to grant a stay. Click here for details.

The order indicates she referred the case to the full court, which granted the stay.

"We are deeply disappointed by the decision to grant a stay pending appeal, but despite this setback, we are confident that when the appellate process is completed we will prevail and these lawfully married same-sex couples will once again be given the same legal protections as every other legally married Utah couple," ACLU attorney Joshua Block said in a statement.

Governor Gary Herbert called the stay "the correct decision."

Read Governor Herbert's statement here:

Herbert Statement

Plaintiff Marina Gomberg, who married her wife, Elenor Heyborne, after Amendment 3 was overturned, was disappointed but believed they would prevail in the long run.

"It's more, I think painful than it is frustrating," she told FOX 13's Ben Winslow. "But at the same time, to be LGBT is to have learned how to find optimism when it seems less obvious, and so I think we have gotten great practice on how to be patient. While this is a moment of great disappointment, and for Elenor today, it's a more painful moment, it is with our eyes on the future that we find that optimism and that hope."

ACLU lawsuit plaintiff Marina Gomberg in an interview with FOX 13's Ben Winslow

ACLU lawsuit plaintiff Marina Gomberg in an interview with FOX 13's Ben Winslow

In a statement, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes acknowledged the "pain and difficulty" caused by the stay, but said it is "necessary to the overall process as we work towards orderly resolution of the Amendment 3 cases as quickly as possible."

Read the full statement from Sean Reyes here:

Reyes statement

The Utah Attorney General's Office told FOX 13 late Friday it is preparing to take the case to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. The state is already preparing to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to consider its appeal the Amendment 3 case, in which two federal courts declared Utah's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

The ACLU has said it anticipates asking the 10th Circuit Court for an expedited schedule, meaning arguments could be heard in Denver within months.