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Utah will not be forced to recognize same-sex couples legally married in the state following an order issued by the U.S. Supreme Court Friday.
U.S. District Court Judge Dale Kimball ruled in May that the state of Utah, Gov. Gary Herbert (R) and Attorney General Sean Reyes are prohibited from retroactively applying the state’s same-sex marriage ban to the approximately 1,300 same-sex marriages performed between Dec. 20, 2013 — when a district court struck down Utah’s same-sex marriage ban as unconstitutional in Kitchen v. Herbert — and Jan. 6 — when the U.S. Supreme Court halted further same-sex marriages in Utah pending an appeal.
With the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals temporary stay was set to expire on Monday, Utah officials sought an emergency stay from Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Sotomayor referred the request to the full court, which today issued their stay pending appeal of the case.
The case is separate from one challenging Utah’s same-sex marriage ban, which Utah has appealed to the Supreme Court, and was filed in January by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of four same-sex couples who were legally married in Utah before same-sex marriages were brought to halt.
“We are deeply disappointed by the decision to grant a stay pending appeal,” said Joshua Block, a staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project, in a statment, “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 ever other legally married Utah couple.”