Appeals Court Halts Recognition of Gay Marriages in Utah

June 6, 2014

Same-sex couples who were married in Utah in the brief window when such unions were legal will have to wait at least another week before they can begin to apply for in-state spousal benefits.

Less than 24 hours after Utah announced its intent to fight a federal judge’s ruling that ordered the state to honor and recognize all same-sex marriages performed in Utah, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals halted any movement toward marriage recognition beyond the three weeks initially imposed last month by U.S. District Judge Dale A. Kimball.

The court will decide whether a more permanent stay — that would be in effect until the Evans v. Utah appeal is resolved — is merited in this case.

If a stay is imposed, the more than 1,000 gay and lesbian couples whose marriages were issued and solemnized in Utah will continue living in the "legal limbo" of not knowing whether their marriages are, or will be, recognized under Utah law.

If the appeals court denies the state’s request, married same-sex couples may begin applying for spousal benefits once the temporary stay expires on June 12.

To receive a permanent stay, the state will have to convince the appellate court they need the stay to maintain order and have a high chance of likelihood on appeal.

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