SALT LAKE CITY – The legal battle over the federal court ruling last month that ended Utah’s same-sex marriage ban is expected to continue well into the new year.
State Attorney General Sean Reyes is expected to seek a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court, and there are reports the state may spend up to $2 million on outside counsel to help prepare its legal case.
John Mejia, legal director of the ACLU of Utah, says the state basically has to prove that allowing marriage equality will in some way harm society.
“They couldn’t make those showings before the District Court,” he says. “And now that they want to stop the ruling from going into effect, they would have to show some sort of irreparable harm to the state from having the judgment carried out, and they certainly have not shown that.”
Last month, U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby overturned Amendment 3, which had amended the Utah state constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.
There are also reports that more than 1,000 same-sex couples have already gotten married since the ruling was issued.
Mejia says marriage equality in Utah is allowing a lot of people to gain legal recognition of their long-term relationships.
“It’s making a meaningful impact in the lives of people,” he stresses. “I mean, this is about allowing people who love each other to show their commitment in the same way that other couples do.”
Amendment 3 was approved in 2004 with 66 percent voter support.