Denver, CO, United States (4E) – A federal appeals court on Tuesday denied Utah’s request to stop same-sex marriages until the resolution of its appeal against a district judge’s earlier ruling legalizing gay and lesbian unions in the state.
Judges Robert E. Bacharach and Jerome A. Holmes of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver denied the Monday request of Gov. Gary Herbert for a stay of U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby’s ruling on Friday that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional.
The state plans to request for an emergency stay with the U.S. Supreme Court by Thursday, said acting Attorney General Brian Tarbet.
Hundreds of same-sex couples have been lining up at county clerks’ offices to get wedding licenses since Friday to avoid being held in contempt of court. The Salt Lake County clerk’s office issued 353 licenses on Monday. But four of Utah’s 29 counties were either closed or denying licenses to same-sex couples.
Shelby’s decision mooted a 2004 referendum result banning same-sex marriage in the state. In effect, county clerks are now legally obligated to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Shelby also denied on Monday a request by state attorney Philip Lott to stay his ruling “to maintain the historic status quo of man-woman marriage that the state and its citizens validly enshrined in the Utah Constitution.”