Judge Denies Stay Of Utah Same-Sex Marriages, Unions Continue


Gay marriages will continue in Utah, for the time being. A federal judge denied a request on Monday to stay his decision that said the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The state says it will appeal the ruling to a higher court. Gay couples have been flooding county clerks' offices since the original ruling came down Friday afternoon.

Copyright © 2013 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.


From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

Marriages for gay couples will continue in Utah for the time being. A federal judge has denied a request to stay his own decision, a ruling he handed down last week. The judge ruled on Friday that Utah's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. From member station KUER in Salt Lake City, Terry Gildea reports.

TERRY GILDEA, BYLINE: At the Salt Lake County Clerk's office on Monday morning, Nathan Tanner and Jon Ayre exchanged vows.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I know pronounce you married. You may kiss.

GILDEA: Both Tanner and Ayre are among more than 200 gay couples in Utah who have gotten married since last Friday when a federal judge overturned the state's law banning gay marriage. Nathan Tanner says it's something he thought would never happen in Utah.

NATHAN TANNER: I just feel - just a lot more whole. I'm complete. I just feel like a full citizen.

GILDEA: The attorney for the three gay couples who brought the lawsuit is Peggy Tomsic. She says Federal District Court Judge Robert Shelby is putting the rights of individuals above state law.

PEGGY TOMSIC: Fortunately, we have a judge who takes his oath of office seriously, which is to read, interpret and apply the United States Constitution and not be pressured by a moral or political majority.

GILDEA: But Tomsic understands the fight is not over. At the federal courthouse in downtown Salt Lake, attorneys for the state of Utah tried to convince Shelby to stop gay weddings so they could prepare an appeal to the 10th Circuit Court. But Shelby refused to the grant the stay. Immediately, state attorneys filed an emergency motion with the 10th Circuit to stop marriage licenses from being issued. However, weddings are still taking place. Attorney Philip Lott represents Utah. He says the state will continue to fight the ruling.

PHILIP LOTT: The state has concern not only for people that are against same-sex marriage. The state is also concerned about people that are entering into same-sex marriages that potentially could be declared void at some point in the future. And so it's a concern that applies to all citizens of the state of Utah.

GILDEA: The attorney who brought the lawsuit on behalf of three gay couples says she will file a motion opposing the state's emergency request. The ruling in Utah is particularly noteworthy because it's the home of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

The Mormon Church has put considerable resources into supporting laws that ban gay marriage, including California's Proposition 8. Meanwhile, county clerks across Utah are empowered to issue marriage licenses to gay couples for now. For NPR News, I'm Terry Gildea in Salt Lake City.

Copyright © 2013 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.