Monday morning, Judge Robert Shelby heard arguments as to why he should place a stay on his ruling granting Utah same-sex couples the right to marry. The 10th Circuit has already twice denied state officials a stay on procedural grounds, and hundreds of couples have rushed to marry since the decision was announced Friday evening. After an hour-long hearing a short recess (during which couples continued to marry), Shelby denied the request for a stay, allowing the marriages to continue. He also apparently stipulated that county clerks that are not providing marriage licenses are in violation of his ruling.
In his meticulous decision on Friday, Shelby unpacked each of the arguments the state made against marriage equality, concluding that the ban does nothing but “demean the dignity of same-sex couples” by “perpetuating inequality.” It is thus not surprising that when state officials rehashed the same arguments that lost in court, they did not convince him to allowing that inequality to continue. The 10th Circuit could still institute a stay if Utah files the proper paperwork for a stay pending appeal, which it did shortly after Shelby’s decision.
Incidentally, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) will announce his new pick for attorney general today, who will argue the case moving forward.
Herbert chose Sean Reyes to be the new attorney general, not Brian Tarbet, who had been filling the role in an interim capacity.