Plaintiffs in a case challenging Utah's
gay marriage ban have until Friday to file a response to the state's
application to the U.S. Supreme Court for it to block a lower court's
ruling declaring the ban invalid.
On Tuesday, the Utah Attorney General's
Office filed its fifth request for a stay in the ruling as an appeal
moves forward. U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby, who issued the
ruling on December 20, and the 10th Circuit Court of
Appeals denied the state's previous request.
Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who oversees
the 10th Circuit, gave plaintiffs in the case, three gay
couples, until noon EST on Friday to respond.
In its 25-page application, Utah
officials argued that allowing gay couples to marry before a final
ruling is reached would cause “irreparable harm” to them and
“The State's responsibility for the
welfare of all its citizens makes it relevant, as well, that
Respondents and any other same-sex couples who choose to marry during
the period before the Tenth Circuit and this Court resolve this
dispute on the merits will likely be irreparably harmed without a
stay. They and their children will likely suffer dignitary and
financial losses from the invalidation of their marriages if
appellate review affirms the validity of Utah's marriage laws,” the
More than 1,000 gay couples have
married in the state in the wake of the ruling.