John M. Becker

Utah Marriage Case is Now on Supreme Court's Doorstep

Filed By John M. Becker | July 09, 2014 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: gay marriage, Kitchen v. Herbert, marriage discrimination, marriage equality, same-sex marriage, SCOTUS, Supreme Court, Utah

Supreme CourtUtah Attorney General Sean Reyes announced today that Kitchen v. Herbert, the federal court challenge to the Beehive State's marriage discrimination amendment, is now on the doorstep of the United States Supreme Court (AP):

The state opted to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court rather than request a review from the entire 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. That option is now off the table, no matter what the high court decides.

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes' office said in a statement the appeal will be filed in the coming weeks, to get "clarity and resolution" from the highest court. "Attorney General Reyes has a sworn duty to defend the laws of our state," the statement said.

The Supreme Court is under no obligation to hear the appeal of the June 25 ruling by a three-judge 10th Circuit panel, said William Eskridge, a Yale University law professor. There also is no deadline to make a decision, he said.

This means Reyes's office will file what's known as a petition for writ of certiorari, in which he will formally ask the Supreme Court to review the case. Then the Court will decide what to do next, on its own time.

So far, Kitchen v. Herbert has a 2-0 batting average in federal court: In December, U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby sided with the plaintiffs and struck down Utah's marriage discrimination amendment; last month, that decision was upheld by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Reactions from the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which brought the lawsuit, and the national marriage equality group Freedom to Marry are after the break.

NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter

"We want this case to move forward to a final resolution as quickly as possible. Every day, loving and committed same-sex couples and their families in Utah are being harmed by the continued enforcement of measures that deny them equal dignity, security and protection-even though both the federal district court and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals have held they violate fundamental constitutional guarantees. We look forward to the day every family in Utah has the freedom to marry, and we will work hard to make that happen as soon as possible."

Freedom to Marry President Evan Wolfson

"The Supreme Court should take this case and swiftly move to end marriage discrimination across the country. Every day of delay is a day of hardship for couples and their loved ones wrongly denied the freedom to marry and respect for their families. The American people support the freedom to marry, but the law still discriminates for too many American couples in too many states."


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