Court sets deadline for Utah appeal in gay marriage recognition case

By Dennis Romboy, Deseret News

Published: Tue, Aug. 12, 2014, 4:35 p.m. MDT

 FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2014, file photo, Corbin Aoyagi, a supporter of gay marriage, waves a rainbow flag during a rally at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City.

FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2014, file photo, Corbin Aoyagi, a supporter of gay marriage, waves a rainbow flag during a rally at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City.

(Rick Bowmer, AP)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah has about six weeks to file its appeal in the same-sex marriage recognition case.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals set a Sept. 22 deadline Tuesday for the state to appeal a lower court ruling in Evans v. Utah.

U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball ruled in May that Utah must extend marital benefits to about 1,300 gay and lesbian couples who married during the brief time it was legal in the state this past winter. He temporarily stayed his decision.

The U.S. Supreme Court extended the stay pending a decision in the 10th Circuit.

JoNell Evans and Stacia Ireland, Donald Johnson and Carl Fritz Shultz, Matthew Barraza and Tony Milner, and Elenor Heyborne and Marina Gomberg sued the state to have their marriages recognized. All were married in Utah between Dec. 20, 2013, and Jan. 6.

The marriage recognition case is separate from the original federal case, Kitchen v. Herbert, challenging the state's voter-approved gay marriage ban that defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

— Dennis Romboy

1. jonsyrt
Provo, UT,
Aug. 12, 2014

Why waste more taxpayer money? These couples were legally married. Denying them their marital benefits is discriminatory.

Utah, abandon this senseless and doomed crusade.

2. Tolstoy
salt lake, UT,
Aug. 12, 2014

Its nice to see the courts are not going to allow the state to draw this futile exercise out forever, hopefully the supreme court will set a similar limit on the case headed towards them.

3. USU-Logan
Logan, UT,
Aug. 12, 2014

This case is a no-brainer.
Just think about California. Even if prop 8 was passed to ban same sex marriage, those gay couples married before the passage of Prop 8, their marriages were still considered valid, weren't they?

Utah AG has even slimmer chance to win this one than Kitchen v Herbert case (not that I think he can win that case though).
Why wasting taxpayers' money on a case totally not winnable is beyond me.

4. Lagomorph
Salt Lake City, UT,
Aug. 12, 2014

A shade off-topic to the question of recognizing marriages performed legally within the state, maybe, but can anyone speak to how the State of Utah deals with marriages performed legally outside the state that would not be valid here? For instance, Utah allows first cousins to marry, but only if they are nonreproductive (sterile, postmenopausal). Some other states allow first cousins to marry without restriction. Does Utah recognize as legally married fertile first cousins married in a state that allows that? Do state agencies make any effort to identify such marriages? Would the Tax Commission reject a joint tax return filed by a married, fertile first cousin couple?

The state does not recognize as valid same sex marriages lawfully performed in other states. Why should other categories of marriages, lawfully performed elsewhere but unlawful here, be any different?

5. The Reader
Layton, UT,
Aug. 12, 2014

Because of the difficulty of same sex married couples to get pregnant and have children there could in time be a serious decline in the population needed to pay for services such as roads, police, fire courts hospitals . . . .

It takes two of opposite sex to have children. Raising children help one to be less self centered and more charitable and loving toward others who are different than themselves.