The Utah Supreme Court ordered a temporary halt of several same-sex adoption cases until state justices can determine whether those adoptions are legal.
The stay was granted by Utah’s highest court late Friday night. In May, the Utah Attorney General’s office filed a petition saying several state district court judges abused their discretion by approving adoptions for gay couples and ordering the Utah Department of Vital Records to issue birth certificates for the adopted children. Third District Court Judge Andrew Stone ordered state attorneys to appear at June 16th hearing to explain why they would not honor those adoptions. But now that hearing is on hold and the Utah Supreme Court has not announced date for oral arguments. In December, Federal District Court Judge Robert Shelby ruled that Utah’s law banning same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. More than 1300 gay couples in the state got married before the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the district court decision. The Utah Attorney General’s maintains that since gay marriage is on hold, same sex adoptions should also be halted. The state appealed Shelby’s ruling to the Tenth Circuit Court in April. That case has been expedited and the court could rule any day. A decision by the Tenth Circuit could have a bearing on how Utah Supreme Court Justices may rule on same sex adoptions in the state.