Utah update

Timothy Kincaid

December 21st, 2013

Yesterday over 100 couples married in Salt Lake City but the doors closed – two hours after schedule – and many couples were turned away. And, it seems, two couples were married in Washington County (population 145,000) yesterday. Most counties refused to issue licenses because “they were waiting for directions from the state”.

Today the Weber County Clerk decided to open his office so as to make things easier on Monday. When word got out, about 1,000 people showed up. Then the Weber County officials told him that opening on Saturday would “violate equal protection provisions” (because you can ban gays for years but opening on Saturday for both gay and straight couples is unfair to the heteros) and for security reasons (cuz of rampaging radical militant homosexuals, I suppose). So he apologized but kept his doors closed.

On Monday, the County Clerk’s office in Salt Lake and other counties will open at 8:00 am. Cache, Salt Lake, Washington and Davis Counties are among those expected to start issuing licenses at that time.

At 9:00 am, Judge Shelby – who issued the ruling – has scheduled a hearing for the state to present its case as to why a stay should be held on the ruling. I think it is unlikely that the judge will issue a stay.

When the Judge says no (as I expect) the state will request that the Tenth Circuit put a stay on the ruling until appeal. This may be more likely.

Meanwhile, the state has asked the Tenth Circuit for an emergency stay just until Shelby hears their request for stay (to cover, I suppose, the hours between 8:00 and 9:30ish). There has been no word yet on the Tenth’s decision.

Unless the Tenth steps in, there will be a window on Monday morning and likely long lines will start before the office opens.

It is possible that the Tenth Circuit will, somewhere down the road, overturn Judge Shelby’s ruling. It is also possible that the marriages conducted on Friday and possibly on Monday morning will be invalidated. However, as these couples will have availed themselves of Federal benefits in the meantime – including tax filings – that is extremely unlikely.


December 22nd, 2013

I think the Tenth Circuit will stay Judge Shelby’s ruling while they review it, then uphold it as consistent with Windsor and the Prop 8 ruling.

Utah will then appeal the ruling to SCOTUS which will hear the case and eventually rule that all laws throughout the country that limit marriage to opposite gender couples are unconstitutional regardless of how they were enacted. Is this the case we’ve been looking for?

Tis a season of hope, don’t you know!

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