Federal judge refuses Utah's request to block marriage equality ruling

With the equal marriage ruling intact, gay couples continue to line up at county clerk's offices to tie the knot

Published December 23, 2013 10:08PM (EST)

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Marriage equality remains the law of the land in Utah after a federal judge on Friday refused the state's request to block gay unions pending its appeal of a recent decision striking down a ban on equal marriage.

United States District Judge Robert Shelby rejected the state's request to halt the ruling against the marriage ban, which he issued on Friday. As NBC News reports, Shelby also shot back at the state's claim that a failure to stay the ruling would inflict "irreparable harm" on gay couples whose marriages may be invalidated pending later state appeals. During the Monday hearing, Shelby asked state lawyers if they considered it “irreparable harm” to deny LGBT Utahns equal rights.

The state has vowed to continue its appeal, and has now gone to the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to file another emergency stay request.

Peggy Tomsic, the lawyer for the couples who brought the case, applauded Shelby's decision, saying that the state's justifications for its appeals are based in fantasy. “The cloud of confusion that the state talks about is only their minds,” she said.

“It’s awfully easy to get caught up in the emotion and do a kneejerk reaction,” Tomsic added. “Fortunately, we have a judge who takes his oath of office seriously.”


By Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Equal Marriage Gay Marriage Lgbt Rights Marriage Equality Utah