SALT LAKE CITY — The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals granted Utah more time Tuesday to file its appeal in the same-sex marriage recognition case.
The court extended the deadline to Oct. 22 at the state's request.
Utah argued in court briefs that the complexity of the case warranted an additional 30 days to file the appeal.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which represents three gay and lesbian couples in the case, opposed the extension, saying the state has had plenty of time to research the issues to prepare the appeal. It also argued that delays cause the plaintiffs financial and emotional stress.
The state says it has never disputed that the couples "genuinely feel subjected to hardship" but that their attorneys haven't acknowledged the "equally true proposition" that Utah is harmed by not being able to enforce its laws.
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 last winter after another court ruling struck down the state's voter-approved same-sex marriage ban. He put temporary hold on his order and the U.S. Supreme Court extended the stay pending the outcome of the appeal.
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 state is appealing the decision that allowed those marriages to the Supreme Court.