January 3, 2014 | by Chris Johnson
Supreme Court urged to deny stay on Utah same-sex marriages
Mormon, marriage equality, same-sex marriage, gay marriage, Utah, gay news, Washington Blade

Attorneys for gay couples are urging the Supreme Court to reject a stay on Utah same-sex marriages (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key).

Gay couples should be able to continue to wed to Utah because the imposition of stay on their marriages would cause them “undisputed, irreparable harm,” attorneys for three same-sex couples wrote Friday in a filing to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The 40-page brief, which was filed in response to the stay request from Utah state officials to the Supreme Court, lays out the case for why halting same-sex marriages as litigation proceeds through the courts would cause harm.

“Forcing same-sex couples and their families to wait and hope for the best during the pendency of this appeal imposes an intolerable and dehumanizing burden that no family should have to endure,” the filing states.

The brief is signed by James Magleby, one of the attorneys at Magleby & Greenwood PC representing the three same-sex couples who are either seeking to marry in Utah or have the state recognize their marriage.

Gay couples have been able to wed in Utah since Dec. 20, when U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby ruled the state’s 2004 ban on same-sex marriage, known as Amendment 3, was unconstitutional. State officials didn’t make a stay request until after the ruling was handed down, and afterward both the district court and the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected requests for a stay.

After their stay requests were denied by lower courts attorneys for Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Attorney General Sean Reyes issued a stay request this week before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Although the high court is expected to take up on the issue of marriage equality at some point in the future, Magleby writes that the Supreme Court may not necessarily take up this case once the Tenth Circuit issues its ruling.

“The constitutional issues presented in this case plainly are of great importance; however, currently there are more than twenty-five state and federal lawsuits, in at least 15 states, challenging state laws barring marriage by same-sex couples on federal constitutional grounds,” Magleby writes. “Therefore, while it is certainly possible the court ‘could’ grant certiorari in this case, Applicants cannot show that it ‘very likely would’ do so.”

The stay request is pending before U.S. Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who has jurisdiction for stay requests over the Tenth Circuit. She has the option of referring the request to all of her colleagues on the bench, who would provide the final word on whether a stay would be granted on same-sex marriages.

There’s no set time for when the court needs to render a decision, although an order is expected soon.

If Sotomayor goes it alone and decides against the stay, Utah officials may select any justice on the Supreme Court — such as a justice with an anti-gay reputation like U.S. Associate Justice Antonin Scalia — and make a final attempt to request a stay.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

4 Comments
  • I decided not to use the word "gay" any more and call it by the more clinical name, "Homosexual", since it is a mental disorder. LGBT children commit suicide because homosexuality is a mental disease. No, it is not Bullying like Homosexuals want to say to deflect the truth.

    • This is how I know you are full of lies, bias, and ignorance, if you were at least educated, you would have known that no major medical journal today supports your claims, such as American Psychological Association, American Medical Association, American Sociological Association, Center of Disease Control, and many others. You want to know why LGBT teens are more likely to commit suicide? Because people like you. Your ignorant remakes, your lies, and your religion bigotry are the causes. Also heteronormativity (I know a big word you have never heard of) is also another problem, and yes bullying. Denying the problem does not make it better or make you right, in fact it makes it worst. Because I’m an educated person who really tries to show “truth.” Maybe educate yourself before you look ignorant on the internet again…

      Savin-Williams, Ritch C (1994). Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol 62(2). 261-269.
      http://apa.org/monitor/2009/03/orientation.aspx
      http://apa.org/monitor/feb02/newdata.aspx
      http://www.cdc.gov/lgbthealth/youth.htm

      P.S. I Google these sources in under 15 minutes. But I guess your people don’t believe in science either, so why bother…

  • I have made the decision to refer to people like you as ‘illiterate’ which is more appropriate than ‘bigot’ as your attempt to refer to ‘homosexuality’ as a mental disorder has not been embraced by the medical community in some 30 years. Being gay is not a choice – being an illiterate asshole, however, is. Welcome to the 21st century.

    • Ah,…the “tolerance” of the morally left…when you can’t demonstrate a rational argument, you begin stamping your feet and calling people names…

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