The Department of Health was not a party to the adoption proceeding, and under Utah law, the only mechanism for the Department to seek appellate review of the order is to file a writ directed at the judge who issued the order. The Department is not “suing” judges. Rather, the Department has filed a petition asking Utah’s appellate courts to determine whether the judge in this case correctly applied the law. The adoptive parents in this case are not required to file any response. Rather, the judge who issued the order is the respondent, and that judge will file a responsive pleading in the courts.
When requested by the court, the Attorney General has provided the State’s position in adoption proceedings involving same-sex marriages. The Attorney General has recommended that the proceedings be stayed until the federal courts determine the constitutionality of Utah laws requiring the state to recognize only opposite-sex marriage. Without guidance from Utah’s appellate courts, compliance with the court order before the federal courts rule is likely to create more uncertainty in Utah law and for Utah families.
The Department filed a petition for extraordinary relief and supporting memorandum with the courts yesterday. Those documents set out the legal reasons that the Department is entitled to relief from complying with the order.