Utah Asks SCOTUS To Rule on Gay Marriage Case

Aug 5, 2014

The Utah Attorney General’s office today has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on the state’s same-sex marriage battle. The decision comes after the 10th Circuit court of appeals in Denver ruled Utah’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.

Attorney General Sean Reyes said in a statement his office has filed the petition a full month-and-a-half before its September 23rd deadline in an effort to hasten the process saying quote “We recognize this litigation has caused uncertainty and disruption.” And “…all Utah citizens will benefit when the Supreme Court provides clear finality on the important issue of state authority to define marriage”

It’s unclear whether the Supreme Court will take up Utah’s case. But if it does, Carl Tobias with the University of Richmond, School of Law in Virginia says it won’t be for a while.

“My best sense and my best guess is that the Supreme Court may want to await three or four appeals court’s determinations and review the petitions and the reasoning in those opinions,” Tobias says. “Then perhaps make a decision probably sometime late fall, early winter after it’s seen what a number of courts have done.”

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in June that same-sex marriage is protected under the 14th Amendment. It was the first federal appeals court to rule on the issue.

Prior to the 10th Circuit decision, U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby struck down the ban last December.

But the court stayed the ruling, anticipating the state would appeal to the nation’s high court. That means same-sex marriage is presently still illegal in the state.