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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Utah's Same-Sex Marriage Cases Getting SCOTUS Attention

Last December, we blogged about federal judge Robert Shelby's ruling that Utah's same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional.  Between his December 20, 2013 ruling and when the SCOTUS suspended the ruling on January 6, 2014  -pending resolution of the State of Utah's appeal to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals-  some 1300 gay Utahans were hitched.

Now, with the 10th Circuit refusing to grant the state additional stay time for their appeals, the question before SCOTUS is whether to recognize these same-sex nuptials until a definitive ruling makes its way to the SCOTUS.  A senior federal judge from Salt Lake City ruled in May that Utah had to honor all same-sex marriages that occurred prior to the High Court stay.

While the 10th Circuit seems inclined to uphold Judge Shelby's ruling, it is providing the state time, in the form of a temporary stay, to crank-up the machinery to get the entire matter stayed by the SCOTUS.  Utah's Attorney General has until next Monday to file their briefs with the Supreme Court.

The Attorney Generals of the various states have taken one of two approaches in these federal court civil rights cases: aggressively pursue all avenues on appeal when a state law ban on same-sex marriage is invalidated by a federal court judge; or take the defeat of the state law in stride and abandon the appeal. Both Utah and Michgian's Attorneys General have taken the former approach.

It is a safe bet, although we here at the Law Blogger do not know for sure, that every state in the union has at least one same-sex marriage case pending in federal court.  So it will only be a matter of time before SCOTUS grants certeriorari in a post United States -v- Windsor case to more fully develop the constitutional civil rights jurisprudence of same-sex marriages.

For now, however, it is nearly a full-time job just keeping up with the caseload; it seems every month brings a new decision and a new twist to the analysis.

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