ACLU Responds To State’s Push To Extend Stay In Gay Marriage Case

Jul 17, 2014

Utah has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to extend a stay that is currently in place, which prevents nearly 1,300 same-sex couples married late last year from being recognized by the state.

The ACLU is penning a response to the state's decision to seek an extension to the say that is currently preventing the recognition of same-sex couples in the state.

In May, Federal Judge Kimball said the state had placed the couples married during the 17 day period in “legal limbo with respect to adoptions, child care and custody, medical decisions,” and other rights associated with marriage. However, Kimball’s ruling that Utah must recognize the couples was put on hold, giving the state a chance to appeal the ruling. The state did appeal in early June, and is now asking for the extension for the stay, which would have ended on Monday.

Now, The American Civil Liberties Union, which represents the four plaintiff couples in the case pushing for recognition of the marriages, said the group plans to file a response with the Supreme Court.

ACLU Legal Director John Mejia explained what would happen if the Supreme Court does not extend the stay.

“If the Supreme Court declines to grant the stay, then starting Monday morning the state will be required to recognize the marriages between same sex couples that happened late last year-early this year,” Mejia said.

He said the state’s request must convince the Supreme Court that the 10th Circuit Court’s decision to recognize the marriages was wrong and that the state would suffer harm if the marriages were recognized.

Mejia said he thinks his plaintiffs have a strong case against the granting an extension.

“We think that the 10th Circuit was right that the state should be required to recognize these marriages immediately, and that the state is not irreparable harmed by recognizing these marriages because it’s unconstitutional not to recognize them because they were valid when solemnized and recognizing valid marriages is not harmful to the state, and to the contrary it’s harmful to those couples who were married and are now in limbo,” Mejia said.

Mejia said he doesn’t have a sense of how the Supreme Court will decide, but he said it seems like they are set on deciding quickly, since Monday is the deadline for the stay being granted.