Supreme Court Temporarily Halts Marriages for Same-Sex Couples in Utah

Affiliate: ACLU of Utah
January 6, 2014 12:10 pm

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court today granted a request from Utah’s attorney general to temporarily put a halt to marriages for same-sex couples. The attorney general had asked for marriages to be suspended while the state appealed a federal court’s ruling striking down the state’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples. A federal appeals court previously denied the temporary stay of the order.

“Despite today’s decision, we are hopeful that the lower court’s well-reasoned decision will be upheld in the end and that courts across the country will continue to recognize that all couples should have the freedom to marry,” said Joshua Block, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project.

The challenge to the law was brought by three Utah couples – Derek Kitchen and Moudi Sbeity; Karen Archer and Kate Call; and Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge – who either wished to be married in Utah or were legally married elsewhere and wanted their home state to recognize their marriage. The couples were represented by the law firm of Magleby & Greenwood.

“The huge response that we have seen since the federal court’s ruling shows how important the freedom to marry is in the state of Utah,” said John Mejia, legal director of the ACLU of Utah. “Though future marriages are on hold for now, the state should recognize as valid those marriages that have already been issued, and those couples should continue to be treated as married by the federal government.”

The ACLU filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case and has brought federal constitutional challenges of its own against similar laws in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, and Oregon. Following the Supreme Court’s decision striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act – a case in which the ACLU served as co-counsel to Edie Windsor – the ACLU launched the Out for Freedom campaign to achieve the freedom to marry for same-sex couples across the country.

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