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Protecting the Bill of Rights in Utah since 1958

Evans v. Utah (2014)

21 October 2014 Published in Resolved Cases

LGBT Equality, Equal Protection - The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Utah, and Strindberg & Scholnick, LLC filed a lawsuit in Utah state court on behalf of four same-sex couples who were legally married in Utah after a federal court struck down a state ban, but before the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily halted marriages from taking place while the state challenged the decision. Although the marriages were valid, the state announced that it had placed recognition of their marriages on hold indefinitely. The lawsuit argues that once same-sex couples are legally married in Utah, they gain protections that cannot retroactively be taken away under the due process clauses of the Utah and United States Constitution.

On May 19, 2014, Judge Dale A. Kimball ordered the state to recognize the more than 1,200 marriages of same-sex couples who were legally married in Utah during December and January. On June 4, the state appealed to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. On June 6, the ACLU of Utah and cooperating attorneys Strindberg and Scholnick filed a motion to oppose the state of Utah’s motions for a stay. On July 11, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals denied Utah's request to suspend a lower court ruling ordering Utah to recognize the over 1,000 marriages of same-sex couples who were legally married in Utah.

On October 6, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court denied review of Utah’s federal case, Kitchen v. Herbert, which challenged the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Although that case is separate from Evans v. Utah, the Supreme Court’s denial of review has implications for Evans in that Utah must now recognize same-sex marriages.

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Secondary Evans v. Utah Court Documents filed

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"Court Schedules Hearing in ACLU of Utah Suit for State to Honor Marriage"

On February 4, 2014, we filed a motion with the federal court seeking an order that the State must immediately recognize marriages of all same-sex couples married in Utah, and to continue to recognize them while the litigation in Evans v. Utah continues.  This type of order is called a preliminary injunction.  Right now, all of the written arguments on the motion from both sides is complete.  The court has scheduled a hearing on the motion, where the attorneys for the parties will be able to make their arguments, for Wednesday, March 12, at 10:00 a.m.  The hearing is currently scheduled to take place in Judge Kimball's courtroom, which is located at the federal courthouse, 350 S. Main Street.  For those interested in attending, the hearing is open to the public.