Same-Sex Marriage Going Federal: Utah and Ohio
Christmas Eve saw two important cases pending in federal courts in Utah and Ohio continue the momentum toward recognition of same-sex marriages.
The latest state to test these waters is Utah where three same-sex couples filed suit in federal court against the Governor and the Attorney General challenging Utah's state law ban against gay marriage. The federal court judge assigned to the case recently ruled that the Utah marriage law violated the couples' due process rights and their equal protection under the law.
Utah's AG immediately filed an emergency appeal in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to stay the federal judge's order while his appeal is pending. The AG's motion to stay was denied in a concise 2-page order issued by the 10th Circuit on Christmas Eve.
Without a stay in place, the floodgates were opened and exploited by couples awaiting recognition of their marital status: 300 couples were married in Salt Lake County alone.
Meanwhile, in Ohio, the federal court judge presiding over the death certificate challenge, the subject of an earlier blog post, ruled that valid out-of-state same sex marriages must be reflected on Ohio death certificates.
This momentum will undoubtedly continue as the Windsor decision takes root. As this post is being written, our blog roll is lighting-up with decisions arising out of cases in New Mexico, Indiana and Oklahoma. Stay tuned as we try to stay abreast of significant developments.