Stay Denied: Tenth Circuit Allows Utah Same-Sex Marriages To Continue


In an opinion released Tuesday afternoon, the Tenth Circuit denied Utah state officials’ request for a stay in the marriage equality case, allowing same-sex marriages to continue while the case proceeds. With little explanation, the decision concluded that a stay was not warranted:

Having considered the district court’s decision and the parties’ arguments concerning the stay factors, we conclude that a stay is not warranted. Accordingly, we deny Defendants-Appellants’ emergency motions for a stay pending appeal and for a temporary stay. In addition, we direct expedited consideration of this appeal. The Clerk is directed to issue a separate order setting deadlines for briefing.

It may now be safe to designate Utah the 18th marriage equality state, because that is not changing anytime soon unless the state succeeds in securing a stay from the Supreme Court, which it could attempt to do.

Last Friday, federal district court Judge Robert Shelby issued a detailed ruling overturning both Utah’s state laws and constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Because the state did not pre-request a stay, Shelby only heard their request Monday. Noting that several hundred couples had already married and that the state’s arguments were no more convincing the second time around, Shelby denied the stay. The state then turned to the Tenth Circuit, which twice denied an emergency stay over the weekend on procedural grounds, but now that court has suggested that there is not a compelling reason to disallow same-sex marriages from continuing. This could have significant implications should this case reach the Supreme Court.