Supreme Court blocks same-sex marriages in Utah

Posted by Justin Snow
January 6, 2014 11:09 AM |

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The U.S. Supreme Court Monday ordered a halt to same-sex marriages in Utah while the case is appealed.

In a brief order that offered no explanation for granting the stay, all nine Supreme Court justices approved a stay application by Utah government officials requesting same-sex marriages be blocked pending a decision by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. The decision appeared to have the support of all nine Supreme Court justices as no dissents were noted.

The decision by the high court comes after Utah’s attorney general filed a request with Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Dec. 31, who oversees the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, to bring a halt to same-sex marriages in the heavily Mormon state. Likely due to the high profile nature of the case, Sotomayor referred the request to the entire court.

Same-sex marriages began in Utah shortly before Christmas after U.S District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby declared Utah's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional in a 53-page Dec. 20 ruling that found "Utah's prohibition on same-sex marriage conflicts with the United States Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and due process under the law.”

Shelby denied a request on Dec. 23 to issue a stay on his decision during the appeals process. Hours later, all but one Utah county began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. On Christmas Eve, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals also denied a request for a stay, allowing same-sex marriages to continue in the state while the case is appealed. That came to an end today with the Supreme Court's decision.


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