So far, both U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby – who overturned the statewide ban on same-sex marriage stating that it was unconstitutional Dec. 20 – and the Tenth Circuit Court denied the previously denied the request for a stay.
According to their website attorneygeneral.utah.gov the Utah Attorney General’s Office officially filed the most recent request for a stay to cease the distribution of marriage licenses to same-sex couples on New Year’s Eve.
In a press conference today, Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes said the Supreme Court granted the stay at 8 a.m.
“The order stays the decision of the district court pending a decision by the tenth circuit court of appeals,” Reyes said. “The states opening brief is due Jan. 22 before the tenth circuit.”
Reyes said the Attorney General’s office is working closely with the attorneys on the other side to try to expedite the briefing schedule sooner if possible.
As far as the nearly 1,000 same-sex marriages that took place in Utah since Judge Shelby’s decision to overturn amendment three of the state constitution, Reyes said that at this time he has no idea whether they will be recognized by the state or not as lawful or not.
“There is no precedence – I believe – for this,” he said. “And this is precisely what we were hoping to avoid by requesting a stay immediately upon the decision of the district court.”
Governor Gary R. Herbert said in a statement to the press that he feels confident that the Supreme Court made the right decision today, and if the stay on Judge Shelby’s ruling had only been granted when the original court decision was executed, there wouldn’t be as much confusion about existing marriages as there are right now.
“All Utahans deserve to have this issue resolved through a fair and complete judicial process,” Herbert said. “I firmly believe this is a state’s rights issue and I will work to defend the position of the people of Utah and our state constitution.”
Washington County Clerk Kim M. Hafen said that to date there were 58 same-sex licenses issued in his county. He said he has no idea how many have couples have returned their license indicating their marriage was completed however, because the license does not have to be turned in for thirty days.
Iron County Clerk, David Yardley said that of the four marriage licenses issued in his district, and to the best of his knowledge, he said three were returned so far.
Cedar City residents Britney Carey and Brittney Jacomb, said they applied for their marriage license the day after Christmas and having been planning their wedding ever since.
They said they were looking forward to making their union official, but now that the stay has been issued, all of their plans have come to a halt. They said they were currently in the in the process of cancelling all of their arrangements.
“We are upset that we can’t get married here,” Carey said. “I feel we shouldn’t have to travel to get married – it should be an option like (for) everyone else.”
If they have to travel, they said they would, but they are truly hoping that the ban remains lifted so they can make things official soon.