The 10th Circuit Court of
Appeals on Monday denied a second emergency stay in a lower court's
ruling declaring Utah's gay marriage ban invalid.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Robert
J. Shelby declared Amendment 3, the state's 2004 voter-approved
constitutional amendment which limits marriage to heterosexual
unions, in violation of the 14th Amendment of the U.S.
The appeals court denied the state's
previous request on Sunday, saying that it had not satisfied “the
factors that must be established to be entitled to a stay pending
As Judge Shelby considered whether to
grant a stay on his ruling as the state's appeal moves forward, gay
and lesbian couples rushed to county clerk offices to tie the knot.
Equality Utah, the state's largest LGBT rights advocate, reported
lines in the hundreds at some offices on Monday morning.
“Consider how important the marriage
institution is, how hotly contested the definition of marriage is
both publicly and politically, the value in promoting both separation
of powers and federalism principles, the fact that many other courts
have upheld the constitutionality of man-woman marriage, and the fact
that neither this Court nor the Supreme Court has issued a final
ruling on this issue, the need for a temporary stay and stay pending
appeal is readily apparent,” the state argued in its filing to the
appeals court. “Utah should be allowed to enforce its
democratically chosen definition of marriage until the appropriate
appellate court of last resort has declared otherwise.”