One Utah Gay Marriage Ruling Could Influence the Other

May 21, 2014

A day after a federal district court judge ordered the state to recognize same sex marriages that took place in Utah, legal scholars are wondering how another pending gay marriage case may influence an appeal to this latest ruling. 

On Monday, Federal District Court Judge Dale Kimball ruled that Utah must recognize the more than 1000 same sex couples who married in Utah during a 17 day period when gay marriage was legal.  Kimball’s decision is related to but separate from the ruling made by his colleague to strike down Utah’s law banning same sex marriage.  That case known as Kitchen versus Herbert is currently being considered by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals and a decision could be rendered any day. Carl Tobias is a law professor at the University of Richmond. He says the Tenth Circuit’s ruling could influence an appeal of the Kimball decision.

“The import or upshot of what the Tenth Circuit rules may govern to some extent what Judge Kimball has said in his opinion. I doubt that it would delay resolution of the case that is moving forward. So, it’s possible, but I just don’t think it will slow down that case,” says Tobias.

The Utah Attorney General’s office has less than three weeks to decide whether or not to appeal Kimball’s ruling.