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Federal Appeals Court Orders Recognition of Valid Marriages of Utah Same-Sex Couples

13 July 2014 Published in Newsroom

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.

Court Finds No Reason Not to Recognize Marriages as Appeal Process Continues

July 11, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit denied Utah's request to suspend a lower court ruling ordering Utah to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who were legally married in the state after a federal court struck down a state ban, but before the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily halted additional marriages from taking place. Over 1,000 same-sex couples married in Utah during that time period. In May, a federal court in Utah ordered the state to recognize those marriages as legally valid, but the state had asked the appellate court the lower court's order to be suspended as the appeals process continued. Today's ruling denies that request, but does give the state 10 days to decide to seek a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court.

The couples are represented by American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Utah, and Strindberg & Scholnick, LLC, who sought the preliminary injunction for the marriages to be recognized while their lawsuit continues.

"It's a relief to our clients and the 1,000 other lawfully wedded same-sex couples in our state that their marriages will be recognized throughout this process," said John Mejia, legal director of the ACLU of Utah. "We continue to fight to ensure that these loving and committed couples get the permanent recognition they deserve."

"The court of appeals has granted these families the peace of mind of knowing that they will not be excluded from the protection and dignity that only marriage can provide," said Joshua Block, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. "We're grateful that these couples will be able to move forward with their lives as this case moves forward in the courts."

The lawsuit is separate from the original federal case challenging Utah's marriage ban, which was recently also struck down by the 10th Circuit. That case was brought by the law firm of Magleby & Greenwood on behalf of three other couples. The ACLU filed a friend-of-the-court brief in that case.

For more information on this case, please visit: www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights/evans-v-utah

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