Supreme Court puts gay marriage on hold in Utah

The Supreme Court on Monday put gay marriage on hold in Utah, giving the state time to appeal a federal judge’s ruling against Utah’s same-sex marriage ban.

The court issued a brief order Monday blocking any new same-sex unions in the state. The ruling comes after a Dec. 20 ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage violates gay and lesbian couples’ constitutional rights.

Well color me shocked. I was not expecting a unanimous decision by the court.

Could be a sign…or not…that SCOTUS isn’t prepared to overrule states on how marriage can be defined.

I think the high court wants the issue to work through the lower courts for now. That is about all you can read into this. It would mean that there is no way that it will make it to the SCOTUS this year. Maybe next.

I can see the appellant court ruling against Utah and then it being appealed to the SCOTUS and another stay issued until after the case is heard at the SCOTUS.

In the long run though; it doesn’t look good for Utah.

UPDATE 1:16 p.m. State officials said on Monday that they are evaluating the legal fate of Utah same-sex couples who already have been married. A total of 950 marriage licenses have been issued in the state to gay and lesbian couples, but it is unknown how many of them actually got married before the Supreme Court acted on Monday morning.

Which is why the stay should have been granted by the original judge.

It’s rather hard to tell with SCOTUS. Regardless of what the appellant court rules, this will land in SCOTUS’s lap. I’m sure they will hold off as long as they can.

Official Statement: Supreme Court decision to grant a stay on Utah District Court ruling

“ There is not clear legal precedence for this particular situation. This is the uncertainty that we were trying to avoid by asking the District Court for a stay immediately after its decision. It is very unfortunate that so many Utah citizens have been put into this legal limbo.

Utah’s Office of Attorney General is carefully evaluating the legal status of the marriages that were performed since the District Court’s decision and will not rush to a decision that impacts Utah citizens so personally.

I believe this was a correct decision by the Supreme Court. There is an order to the legal process and this decision is just another step in that process. Both legal teams have much work to do before the case is presented before the 10th Circuit Court on an expedited basis. I believe the stay indicates an interest by the Supreme Court in this case and as I have said before, pursuing the legal process to get a final answer from the highest court benefits all citizens of Utah.”

A copy of the release is available here: Official Statement Press Release

I really, really doubt the SCOTUS will reverse itself on recent decisions.

I don’t think it looks good for anyone.

For starters, too many Catholics and Christians defend this nonsense.

Second, those who think they will benefit from changes from marriage are in many cases going to be in for some nasty surprises.

That means a lot of folks will just be even more angry and since we live in culture where everything bad that happens is the fault of someone else (ie straight, able-bodied white males of Anglo, Saxon, French and Italian descent), expect even more push-back and institutional corruption basically saying:

"It’s about EQUALITY, it’s the SAME no matter what, it HAS to be, and if you don’t agree you’re a (insert name-calling here).

Some progressives are soooo predictable. :rolleyes:

And which recent decisions are you basing this on?

So now we have some 950 individual homosexual’s who are running around out there and who are according to Federal law considered to be legally married?
So how do we tell them they weren’t considered to be married in the 1st place and what a tangled web we weave when we attempt to mess with the laws of God.

As an Iowa resident, I can relate to what is happening in Utah especially since we in Iowa had so called “gay marriage” thrust upon us by our ever high and mighty state supreme court.
I have been angry about this ever since same sex marriage was made legal without a vote of the people and had been brought to the forefront by a so called “distinguished” member of the Iowa Senate who was educated in a Catholic high school and often speaks of himself as being Catholic and religious.
This saga will continue as we fail our youth by failing to explain the sinfulness of same sex marriage and the chastisement which must certainly follow.


But that’s just it…they didn’t make a decision…they punted. They will have to deal with the issue sooner or later.

From what I understand, they don’t know how many are married, since you actually have to have a ceremony where someone who is authorized to perform marriages in order to be married. Some states even have waiting periods from when the license is issued and when the marriage can take place and most states’ licenses are good for a number of days, 60 or 90. So they issued 950 marriage licenses, but until the couples return the signed licenses back to the state and county offices, they won’t know how many actually got married.

The Utah Attorney General did not apply for a stay. The original judge didn’t rule on it, because the state didn’t ask for one. In all of this, 95% of the blame goes on the Attorney General’s office, who I hear also botched the paperwork for their request for the stay to the District Court, which is why it got denied there too.

OK, I don’t understand what you are saying. Maybe you can link to something? They did change attorney generals in the midst of all this so there may be something to what you are saying; but off hand I don’t see it. This is what I have.

The district court made its decision on 12/20. The stay was requested by the State of Utah on the evening of 12/20. The district court denied the stay on 12/23.

This is the request for a Stay to the SCOTUS:

This is a request to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals for a stay:

This is the denial of a Stay issued by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Note it references a stay request. Note also that the denial was not for faulty paperwork:

This is the stay motion filed with the district court:

This is the denial order by the district court judge for the stay:

Official Statement Regarding the 10th Circuit Denial of Request for a Stay.

Posted on: December 25th, 2013 by rbruckman
“We are disappointed in the decision by the 10th Circuit to deny a stay. We plan to appeal the denial to the Supreme Court on thursday morning.”

Official Statement regarding Judge Shelby’s decision to decline Motion of Stay

Posted on: December 23rd, 2013 by rbruckman
“Following Judge Shelby’s decision to decline our Motion of Stay, the state of Utah renewed its request for a Motion of Stay before the Tenth Circuit Court. The State did so in order to avoid the confusion that Judge Shelby’s decision and absence of a Stay are causing throughout Utah. The Attorney General’s Office hopes to have a response soon from the Tenth Circuit Court with respect to the motion. We have done all we can up to this point and we will continue to pursue all avenues available to us.”

Official Statement regarding the federal district courts ruling on same-sex marriage

Posted on: December 20th, 2013 by rbruckman
The federal district court’s ruling that same-sex marriage is a fundamental right has never been established in any previous case in the 10th Circuit. The state is requesting an emergency stay pending the filing of an appeal. The Attorney General’s Office will continue reviewing the ruling in detail until an appeal is filed to support the constitutional amendment passed by the citizens of Utah.
Official Statement

I wonder how much money has been spent so far by the left on lobbying to get the definition of marriage changed and if they think the money was better spent on this than on helping the poor.

Usually when an AG is sued, they apply for a stay IN THEIR DEFENSE so that, if the ruling is against them, it can be immediately stayed. The Utah Attorney General was so complacent that he/she would win that he/she didn’t even bother to put in a stay request in the state of Utah’s defense. So when the ruling was against them, no stay was able to be issued.

As for the concurrent botched stay requests, I have not seen specifics but several blogs, both conservative and liberal, have stated that there were errors in their stay request to the district court. This is one:

In Utah, one of the most conservative states in the union, we went all of a sudden overnight from no gay marriage to gay marriage. There was little indication for those not following developments it would happen. I think it did happen because Utah’s lawyers continually botched their stay requests, and the Judge was following the arguments that were presented to him. And once things started, Utah botched again how it handled its request in the 10th Circuit.

Read the transcript from the hearing. It seems that the AG was expecting prior notice of the ruling so that the paperwork for the stay could be submitted and hearing held right away. The prior notice never happened so the AG couldn’t submit the request until after the fact. The judge didn’t seem inclined to stay the order regardless, so not sure it would have made a difference if they had the stay paperwork in when the ruling came down. It still would have had to go through the 10th and on to SCOTUS. The fact that a stay was put in place within a few days of the ruling was pretty quick all things considered.

Here’s the transcript of the hearing for the stay:

I agree the process was rapid in judicial time. However it still resulted in over 1900 marriage licenses being issued and all those people are in a state of limbo right now.

Thanks for the link.

Don’t you mean 900 and not 1900?

It’s one of the risks of jumping on the bandwagon when the issue is still up in the air. The only guarantee in this case is that the ultimate decision will be made by SCOTUS.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit