US Supreme Court Temporarily Blocks Same Sex Marriage in Utah

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Earlier this morning, the US Supreme Court temporarily blocked gay marriages in Utah pending the state’s appeal of a federal judge’s ruling allowing same-sex marriage.

Utah had filed an emergency request to stay the judge’s ruling, which struck down as unconstitutional a state law banning same-sex marriage.

In December, U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby said the state’s law “conflicts with the United States Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process under the law.”

The law that Shelby referred to banning same-sex marriage was approved by voters in 2004. Several couples filed a lawsuit against the ban. Kitchen v. Herbert is the 2013 federal court case requesting that the Salt Lake County Clerk issue marriage licenses to three same-sex couples and that the state recognize the marriages as valid. It was assigned to Judge Shelby.

In a brief decision, Liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor granted the request by Utah’s Attorney General Sean Reyes pending final disposition of the appeal by the United States Tenth Disctict Court of Appeals.

Monday’s action on the enforcement question is only temporary and does not offer the final word on the constitutionality of the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. The case will still need to wind its way through the appeal’s process.

Carbon County Attorney Christian Bryner said that they heard the ruling and as of 9 a.m. Monday morning, they stopped issuing marriage licences to same sex couples until further notice. They will wait to see what happens in the Tenth Circuit Court and go from there as the court process determines further action.

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