The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday blocked a federal district court's decision striking down Utah's bans on same-sex-marriages, pending the outcome of the state's appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.
Hundreds of same-sex couples reportedly have married following the district court's decision last month that the state's laws and a state constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriages violated the fundamental right to liberty of all citizens, "regardless of their sexual identity." That right, wrote Judge Robert Shelby, "protects an individual’s ability to marry and the intimate choices a person makes about marriage and family."
Utah filed its emergency request for a stay with the high court on New Year's eve after the district court and a two-judge panel of the appellate court rejected its applications for a stay. Utah's emergency application was submitted to Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the circuit justice for the 10th Circuit.
Sotomayor submitted the state's request in Herbert v. Kitchen to the full Supreme Court, which approved the stay without comment.
The 10th Circuit has put the state's appeal on an expedited schedule with the state's opening brief to be filed on Jan. 27. Responses are due Feb. 18, and any reply by the state must be filed by Feb. 25.