Utah Will Appeal Gay Marriage Ruling To High Court
By Brady McCombs
Originally printed 7/17/2014 (Issue 2229 - Between The Lines News)
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Utah has decided to go straight to the U.S. Supreme Court to argue against gay marriage, meaning the nation's highest court will have at least one same-sex marriage case on its plate when it returns in October.
The office of the Utah attorney general announced Wednesday that it would bypass a full appeals court and take the gay marriage case to the Supreme Court instead.
If the U.S. Supreme court decides to take the case, it will be the first time the top court considers gay marriage since justices last year struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The high court is under no obligation to the take the case, and it could wait for rulings from one or more of the five other appellate courts with gay marriage cases pending, legal scholars say.
Utah's appeal is of a June 25 ruling from a three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, which found states cannot deprive people of the fundamental right to marry simply because they choose partners of the same sex. The panel immediately put the ruling on hold pending an appeal.
The Utah case is certain to pique the Supreme Court's interest, but the justices usually look for cases that involve split rulings from federal appeals courts, said Douglas NeJaime, a University of California-Irvine law professor.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments about Virginia's ban in early May, and a ruling is expected soon. Arguments are scheduled for August and September in two different courts for cases out of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Nevada and Idaho.
"My best guess it that the court will hang onto this for a while and see what happens," NeJaime said. "There are so many cases now, it will have a pick."
William Eskridge, a Yale University law professor, also doesn't expect a quick decision from the high court. The Supreme Court is under no deadline to make a decision and knows other appellate decisions are coming, he said.
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes' office said in a statement the appeal will be filed in the coming weeks, to get "clarity and resolution" on the matter. The decision to go directly to the Supreme Court means a review from the entire 10th Circuit Court is off the table, no matter what the high court decides.
Gov. Gary Herbert has said the state already budgeted for a need to defend the law before the Supreme Court. It is expected to cost another $300,000 to have three outside attorneys handle the case -- the same amount it cost to take the case to the federal appeals court.
The Supreme Court's landmark ruling last summer allowed married same-sex couples to receive the same federal benefits as other married people, but did not specifically address whether gay marriage is a constitutional right.
Since then, lower courts have repeatedly cited the decision when striking down gay marriage bans. The latest such ruling was Wednesday, when a state judge struck down Colorado's gay marriage ban. That ruling is on hold pending an appeal.
In the Utah case, the 10th Circuit upheld a lower court's decision that overturned a 2004 voter-approved gay marriage ban. More than 1,000 same-sex couples wed in Utah after the ban was struck down and before the Supreme Court issued a stay.
The same thing happened in Indiana, where several hundred same-sex couples married during a two-day window in June. On Wednesday, Indiana state officials said they won't recognize those marriages -- the same decision Utah made.
The conservative Sutherland Institute of Utah applauded the state for appealing to the highest court, saying in a statement that it gives states the chance to "defend marriage as society's way to encourage a married mother and father for every child."
Plaintiff Moudi Sbeity called the decision to take the case to the Supreme Court "wonderful news." He and his partner, Derek Kitchen, are one of three couples who sued over Utah's gay marriage ban.
"We are one step closer toward having our families recognized in our home state," Sbeity said. "It's definitely a case our Supreme Court needs to hear. The faster we can move on this, the better for all of us."
- Study: Only 16 Percent Of Men Who Have Sex With Men Report Using Condoms 'Always'
- New Data Shows U.S. Benefiting From Same-Sex Marriage
- NYC Approves Ordinance On Trans Birth Certificates
- LGBT Baby Boomers Face Tough Retirement Hurdles
- In Wake Of Murder, International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers
- Financial Tips For Same-Sex Couples
- Group: Army To Recognize Transgender Vets' Names
- New Non-Discrimination Rule Implemented Federally
- Attorney: Same-Sex Marriages Should Start Soon In Miss.
- Will U.S. Supreme Court Resolve Marriage Debate?
- Mississippi Judge Overturns Same-Sex Marriage Ban
- Study Suggests Genetic Link For Male Homosexuality
- Shelter in Kansas City Won't House Gay Couples
- Gay Marriage Issue Now Linked To Ohio Senator
- Another Top Ohio Republican Speaks On Gay Marriage
- Pope Reinforces Traditional Family Values
- Election 2014: LGBT Candidates Make Some History Across U.S.
- Republican Sweep Captures Senate And Some Pro-Gay Governors
- LGBT Veterans Still Denied Equal Federal Benefits
- GLSEN Releases New National School Climate Survey On America's Middle And High Schools
- AIDS/HIV Organizations
- Mariners Inn
- University of Michigan HIV/AIDS Treatment Program
- Community Health Awareness Group
- Campus; Student and Alumni Groups
- Lansing Community College Gay-Straight Alliance
- Families and Parents
- PFLAG Lansing
- Financial Services
- University of Michigan
Credit Union (UMCU)
- Heating & Cooling
- Otto A. Trzos Company
- Religious & Spiritual
- Carriage Town Tabernacle
- Social/Community Organizations
- Billionaire Boys Club
- Substance Abuse
- Al-Anon Office of Metro Detroit
Enter contests to win great prizes like CDs, DVDs, concert tickets and more
- Exclusive! 'Looking' Star Russell Tovey On Sex Scenes, His Famous Butt & That Rimming Cake
- ALERT Missing Person In Metro Detroit
- Q&A: Andy Cohen On His (Almost) Tell-All Book, 'Nasty' Names Gays Call Him
- Divine Intervention: Bette Midler Talks Early Gay Support, 'Diva' Degradation & Twerking ('Girls, Please!')
- Creep of the Week: The Duggars
Sign up to receive our weekly newsletters today!
A study published in the journal The Lancet HIV reports that there is a significant disparity in HIV prevalence between black and white men who have sex with men. The study was published on Nov. 18 and found a startling 32 percent prevalence rate for black men who have sex with men, compared with only eight percent for white men who have sex with men.View More World AIDS Day
This Week's Issue
Download or view this week's print issue today!
Sign up to receive our weekly newsletters today!