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Three quick Utah updates

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

The effects of federal district court judge Robert Shelby’s decision to strike down Utah’s same-sex marriage ban continue to reverberate throughout the state. State employees and their same-sex spouses will now receive health benefits under state law:

Following a landmark federal ruling striking down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage, the agency that insures tens of thousands of Utah public employees will extend benefits to newly legal spouses.

“These are not luxuries … medical treatment and health insurance are among our most basic needs, so it has a direct impact on a lot of Utah families,” said Clifford Rosky, a law professor at the University of Utah and board chairman of Equality Utah. “I think it’s really great news.”

The Public Employees Health Program (PEHP) provides benefits for Utah state government, one of the largest employers in the state. An independent state agency, PEHP covers about 50,000 employees, including those at 300 Utah cities, counties, school districts and other public agencies. Counting dependents, it insures some 140,000 people.

“It’s a change from what has been done,” said Dee Larsen, legal counsel for Utah Retirement Systems. “We’re just following state law.”

Reports also indicate the state is looking into how it should treat same-sex marriages performed out of state. The district court’s decision says the state has to recognize same-sex marriage as legal, and some of the plaintiffs were married out of state, so it’s assumed that benefits available to spouses legally married elsewhere will be given out even when same-sex couples benefit. (And now that Section 3 of DOMA is gone, it seems possible same-sex couples could apply for federal benefits.)

In another development, over a thousand marriage licenses have been given to same-sex couples in Utah. Records are being shattered in the state:

In the week since a federal judge overturned Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage, the number of weddings in the state has skyrocketed, shattering records and accruing thousands of dollars for Utah’s 29 counties.

As of close of business Thursday, more than 1,225 marriage licenses had been issued in Utah since last Friday, according to numbers obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune. Of those, at least 74 percent were issued to gay and lesbian couples.

That’s more than 905 same-sex couples who received marriage licenses in a week punctuated by holidays and limited — in some counties — by when their clerk began to adhere to U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby’s order.

The article notes that, extrapolating from the cost of marriage licenses in Utah, the state made $49,000 in just three and a half days.

The state has also begun using outside counsel to handle the marriage case. But state officials aren’t announcing who the outside attorneys are or more details about their role:

The state of Utah has turned to outside counsel for help with its efforts to stop same-sex marriages, a move the office said Thursday would temporarily delay its application for a stay to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Attorney General’s Office planned to file a stay request Thursday but said the application would be made on Friday or Monday as it coordinates with the outside firm, which it has not yet identified. The AG’s office also hasn’t provided any information about how much it will spend or from where it is drawing the funds to pay the outside counsel.

As of this writing, no application for a stay of the district court judge’s decision has been filed with the United States Supreme Court. The state has promised it will file an emergency application with Justice Sotomayor, who oversees applications for stays and other matters from the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, but said yesterday that it would be “a few days” before they ask her to intervene. This is likely because of the outside counsel involved in the process now. Once she receives the application, Justice Sotomayor can decide to grant or deny the stay herself, or refer the matter to the full Supreme Court.

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85 Comments

  • 1. Rose  |  December 27, 2013 at 10:29 am

    The longer the State takes to decide on what to say in order to get their Stay……..the least likely of their chances of success……..and now the State is going to an OUTSIDE source to represent them because so far they have failed to convey why exactly they feel they have a chance of being successful in the long run or exactly what harm is being caused by allowing Same-Sex Couples to continue to marry!!!

    It might be in the State's best interest to follow the lead by New Jersey's Governor and just let it go…….they AREN'T going to win this…….Marriage Equality is here to stay in Utah!!!

  • 2. hank kelly  |  December 27, 2013 at 10:51 am

    I wish I had your confidence. Regardless of a stay, Utah will probably appeal to the Supreme Court if the Court of Appeals rules in favor of gay marriage in Utah. This case will be the defining moment for gay marriage throughout the country. It's probably a safe bet that the 4 who ruled to maintain DOMA will rule not in favor of a constitutional right to gay marriage. Hopefully, the 5 justices who overturned DOMA will also rule that there is a constitutional right to gay marriage.

  • 3. StraightDave  |  December 27, 2013 at 10:55 am

    That might be what they are seeking counsel on, a sober outsider's view of their chances by someone who's not blinded by the LDS spotlight. In any case, they are starting to otherwise act like they think this is gonna be permanent, not just a 1-week fling. They might have to zip thru the Denial-Anger-Bargaining-Depression-Acceptance stages of grief in record time.

  • 4. Scottie Thomaston  |  December 27, 2013 at 11:01 am

    I think we probably won't have to worry about Utah until around 2015, at least not in terms of a permanent outcome. The Tenth Circuit has said that the case will be fast-tracked, meaning a speedier briefing process. So BEST case scenario, they have an opinion by summer and the losing party doesn't ask for a rehearing with the full Tenth Circuit and just goes straight to the Supreme Court. They'd decide to hear it or not during the October 2014 term that ends in June 2015. They could obviously just decline review.

    But Oregon will be on the ballot in November 2014 and possibly even Ohio. Illinois' law will have gone into effect by then, and there may be decisions in Ohio and Virginia and possibly Pennsylvania or elsewhere. The point is, looking at the fastest track to the Court, we'll probably have even more wins stacking up before the Court reviews the merits.

    And that's only if the Court decides on the merits then. If they wait until 2016 things could look even better.

    I don't even necessarily think the Court would take up the Utah case. There's no guarantee. But it's just not something we'll have to worry about the Supreme Court dealing with for at least a year.

  • 5. Valquiria  |  December 27, 2013 at 11:05 am

    It's an even safer bet that the Utah case will never reach the Supreme Court. It will stop at the 10th circuit.

  • 6. kate  |  December 27, 2013 at 11:11 am

    To match the record time that this all come down in Utah! (And took us all by surprise, too.)

  • 7. Sagesse  |  December 27, 2013 at 11:28 am

    The politics of Utah say that the state has to carry the fight against marriage equality to its ultimate resolution, not matter how doomed their position may be. Their religious masters will settle for nothing less. If it means taking the rest of the 10th Circuit along with them, so be it.

  • 8. Valquiria  |  December 27, 2013 at 11:36 am

    The rest of the 10th circuit is just hell-bound gentiles anyway. If Utah is lost, nothing else matters.

  • 9. Bruno71  |  December 27, 2013 at 11:38 am

    "They could obviously just decline review." I wish this was more obvious. So many people are unaware that the Supreme Court doesn't actually HAVE to decide this case or any other case it chooses not to look at.

  • 10. Dann  |  December 27, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    This isn't 2008 anymore. We are just 5 days away from 2014. There are 18 states and DC that allow ME. That fact, coupled with the striking down of DOMA section 3 weighs huge! No harm has ever resulted from allowing gays to marry therefore, IMO there will be no "stay".

  • 11. Rose  |  December 27, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    The longer the State takes to decide on what to say in order to get their Stay……..the least likely of their chances of success……..and now the State is going to an OUTSIDE source to represent them because so far they have failed to convey why exactly they feel they have a chance of being successful in the long run or exactly what harm is being caused by allowing Same-Sex Couples to continue to marry!!!

  • 12. Dann  |  December 27, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    PS. Regardless of the outcome of the "stay" issue, only good has and will come out of this. Approximately 1,000 couples were married and we know the end is near for these discriminatory marriage bans.. Justice will prevail!

  • 13. hank kelly  |  December 27, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    I can't imagine Antonin Scalia passing up a chance to rule on this if he gets an opportunity. He yearns for the gooood ol' days (prior 2003) when gay sex was criminalized. He is 0 – 3 for decisions involving gay rights.

  • 14. Dr. Z  |  December 27, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    There would seem to a good chance that SCOTUS will wait until there has been a circuit split before stepping in. However cert is unpredictable. The conventional wisdom last year was that SCOTUS would grant cert to one of the DOMA challenges and dodge the Prop 8 case. Instead they took Windsor and Hollingsworth.

    When discussing votes to grant cert most of the attention has been on the four conservatives, but if one or two of the liberals thought the time was right to grant cert then that would change the calculus.

  • 15. Bruno71  |  December 27, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    My theory is the calculus changed after the prop 8 case. I now think the conservatives don't want to touch it, being afraid if it goes to the merits that a sweeping ruling will happen. It may be in the liberals' court.

  • 16. Bruno71  |  December 27, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    "0-3": Which is exactly why I think he'll eagerly pass up the chance to rule on this if he gets the opportunity.

  • 17. Valquiria  |  December 27, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    I can easily imagine Scalia passing up the chance to see his colleagues rule on it.

  • 18. sfbob  |  December 27, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    If he really wants that, I have a suggestion: Let him decide to retire now.

  • 19. Frisky1  |  December 27, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    True, out of approximately 10,000 cases that are sent to SCOTUS each year, they take about 70.

  • 20. Craig Nelson  |  December 27, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Lot's of loose talk that there should be a stay because if SCOTUS were to overrule the ruling then the marriages undertaken would be invalidated. To put it at its bluntest this is crazy talk. Logically such a ruling would also cover all the marriages in California would be covered by this logic (that is those that have occurred after the stay on J Walker's ruling was lifted). That clearly can't happen. There are therefore no rational grounds for a stay.

  • 21. Chad  |  December 27, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Hank, the Supreme Court is definitely NOT going to take this case if the 10th Circuit rules in favor of gay marriage. this is NOT the case that will bring gay marriage to the whole US

  • 22. Chris M.  |  December 27, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    The Deseret News has more on this outside council thing:
    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865593145/Pric

    They are apparently convinced that spending top dollars (~2 million) on outside law firms gives them the best shot at 'winning'. And there seems to be little opposition to this.

  • 23. Valquiria  |  December 27, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    LDS fanatics spend their whole lives sacrificing ten percent of their income to thin air. Don't expect them to pinch pennies defending a sacred cause, even when it's already lost. Even if it achieves nothing in this world, it will pay dividends in the afterlife.

  • 24. SoCal_Dave  |  December 27, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Yep, and the members were hit up hard for Prop 8 donations above and beyond their 10 percent, and many gave it.

  • 25. MichaelinFlorida  |  December 27, 2013 at 11:13 pm

    Wow, the need to confer with "outside" council must be a complete embarrassment for the entire state. of Utah. Neither Charles Cooper nor Paul Clement could convince the U.S. Supreme Court that same sex marriage was wrong. Where will the state of Utah find an atty. able to overturn a circuit court?

  • 26. SeattleRobin  |  December 27, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    Actually, the 1000+ figure is for marriage licenses issued. I haven't seen any figures for how many couples have actually married, but that number is a lot smaller. Some people end up never even using their license, both gay and straight.

    I agree that justice will prevail though!

  • 27. Rose  |  December 28, 2013 at 2:59 am

    They won't, but like was already stated, they poured money into Prop 8 and in the end, LOST……they will here to…..NO matter who is defending them……..they COULDN'T provide clear evidence to support their "WIN" or being "SUCCESSFUL" down the road, NOR the harm they may suffer and therefore have NO grounds for a Stay…….this is NOT the Prop 8 case and in the end, Prop 8 LOST and Judge Walker stated that back in August of 2010………and now with 17 States and DC, it is less likely to prevail!!!

  • 28. ebohlman  |  December 28, 2013 at 3:32 am

    The reason they took Hollingsworth was that there were some loose ends in US jurisprudence regarding standing and Hollingsworth provided an opportunity to tie them up. I doubt they'd have taken it on the substantive issues, especially given how limited the 9th's ruling was.

    They pretty much had to take up Windsor or another of the DOMA challenges because the circuit rulings had led to a situation where a Federal statute was enforceable in some states but not others, and that's not tenable.

    I very much doubt they'd take up Kitchen unless there's a circuit split with Sevcik from the 9th.

  • 29. hank kelly  |  December 28, 2013 at 6:32 am

    Chad, if it's not Utah, the justices might be forced to either legalize gay marriage nationwide or uphold all state-level bans in a future appeal. My worse nightmare … the Republicans win the White House in 2016 and Ruth Ginsburg retires sometime after. We could then be in deep trouble. The court would be unbalanced to the right and could uphold all state-level bans. Maybe it would be best to get this all settled now. We have a better chance with the makeup of the Supreme Court as it is now to legalize gay marriage nationwide.

  • 30. Craig Nelson  |  December 28, 2013 at 7:51 am

    They need a good lawyer, not to litigate or prepare the relevant motions – I am sure their AG is fully capable of that. They need a lawyer to counsel them not to undertake the suicidal action of seeking a stay from SCOTUS which is an almighty blunder if ever there was one and can only sink their case both in Utah and in the wider US. Now likewise should be on the line saying 'for goodness sake don't do it'.

  • 31. Zack12  |  December 28, 2013 at 8:05 am

    That is my fear as well. Imo,the ruling in DOMA made clear where Roberts stands on these issues.
    If someone like Christie or Cruz gets in,all the rights we've made will stop dead in their tracks.

  • 32. reispace  |  December 28, 2013 at 8:13 am

    Is there a realistic chance that this issue is NOT settled by SCOTUS before late Jan 2017? That's the earliest a Cruz or Christie could appoint a new justice.

  • 33. SoCal_Dave  |  December 28, 2013 at 8:48 am

    This is a really interesting idea. This will not only provide an outside voice of reason, but it will provide cover for UT officials, who can blame the outsiders for not taking actions that their base will be insisting on.

  • 34. jpmassar  |  December 28, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Well, it's hard to argue that having an idiot for a lawyer and paying him or her peanuts gives you a better shot at winning. And hey, if it's the state's money, why not decide to pay for "the best" even if the fight is futile.

  • 35. StraightDave  |  December 28, 2013 at 9:13 am

    Of course it's a sensible course to take. But I'm not sure the Utah LDS sheep give 2 hoots about "saving" Oklahoma, let alone Michigan. It's absolutely no skin off their noses, since UT's fate is essentially sealed, so why not just go down with the ship. At least they can look God in the eye when they get to Kolob.

  • 36. StraightDave  |  December 28, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Sure, spending someone else's money is always attractive. I wonder what would happen if the Gov announced UT was raising the sales tax 0.1% to pay for this nonsense. Then you can watch how mushy the morals suddenly get.

  • 37. Straight Ally #3008  |  December 28, 2013 at 10:00 am

    Christie knows when to quit (see NJ Supreme Court), Cruz doesn't (see government shutdown). Cruz as president would be a disaster…but he's Canadian, so the birthers won't have it, right? 😉

  • 38. Christian  |  December 28, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Random question but I don't know where else to ask: When Amendment 2 was passed in Colorado, ACLU filed for an emergency injunction in state court on 14th amendment grounds and they were successful.
    Why didn't NAGL, Lambda Legal, and the ACLU sue in Strauss v Horton on the same grounds with the same requests? After all, we were successful in 1996 under similar circumstances and the state claims that were filed in Strauss were arguably weak.

  • 39. Carol  |  December 28, 2013 at 10:32 am

    If Cruz became the candidate, the birthers would find a way. He's only Cuban, not Kenyan. 😉

  • 40. Carol  |  December 28, 2013 at 10:35 am

    It's hard to imagine Cooper or Clement wanting to take this on after Windsor, and they are probably the most competent of the lot.

  • 41. Dann  |  December 28, 2013 at 11:19 am

    It's common practice for a potentially retiring Justice (such as Ginsberg) to retire election-year if it appears the other party will take over the WH thus giving the current President time to nominate for his party. I would not sweat this a moment longer.

  • 42. Mike in Baltimore  |  December 28, 2013 at 11:32 am

    The figure I've seen (SL Trib, I think) is that more than 1300 licenses have been issued, almost all have resulted in marriage, and 74% of the licenses and marriages have been same sex couples. By that count, the number of same sex couples married IN Utah is close to, or exceeds, 1,000.

    AND, considering that the judge's decision was issued on December 20, we won't know how many licenses issued that day, or after, and not turned into actual marriages will not be known until January 19, or after, since the (according to the Uintah County web site) "[l]icenses are valid for 30 days from date of issue, there is no waiting period and may be used any place in the State of Utah."
    (http://www.co.uintah.ut.us/clerk_auditor/clerk/marriage.php)

    And since there is a 30 day period for validity, there is no history of same sex marriages in Utah prior to December 20, so the number of licenses issued for same sex marriages, but not 'finalized', is a specious number until AFTER January 19.

  • 43. grod  |  December 28, 2013 at 11:53 am

    Mike Nor do we know the number of out of state marriages that Utah was called upon to recognize. As I noted elsewhere, and restate here, asserting one's right to remain married, and to have the current state of residency acknowledge that right is the surest way to undo the constitutional amendment in 31 states. As Ohioan Judge Black said, the right to remain married is an uncontested aspect of the fundamental right to marry. Neither congress or state assemblies nor the people can abrogate a fundamental right. Imagine the impact of asserting this right in every state of the Union by residents of each state who were married elsewhere. Yes we can!

  • 44. JimLeeT  |  December 28, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    As long as she is capable of performing her job, Justice Ginsberg has stated that she is not planning on retiring. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/j

  • 45. hank kelly  |  December 28, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    "Though a federal judge struck down Utah’s same-sex marriage ban and another chipped away at a similar law in Ohio in the last week, experts warned that about 30 similar state statutes weren’t necessarily under threat despite mounting legal challenges."
    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/12/24/220368

  • 46. davep  |  December 28, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    No problem it's win-win for our side. If they press forward and insist on appealing to the 10th circuit, we'll win and it will bring SSM to all of the other states in the 10th Circuit. This case doesn't have any of the elements that allowed the 9th circuit to limit the ruling to only the one state in the Prop 8 case.

  • 47. Zack12  |  December 28, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    I do think we will have marriage equality but I also think this. At some point there will be judges (like in the 5th circuit) that will buy a state's argument about how the Windsor ruling means gay marriage laws should be left up to the states.
    Either that or they will simply do what Scalia does and pull a ruling out of thin air simply because they don't like gay people.
    We've come a long way,make no mistake about that but we can't treat the battle as won either.

  • 48. Bruno71  |  December 28, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    I think those 30 similar state statutes are undoubtedly "under threat." Threat doesn't mean that they'll all fall like dominos at the district level, which is the true point of this article. I'm certainly expecting at least a few cases that go against us, probably in states like Texas and South Carolina.

  • 49. davep  |  December 28, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    Bingo. The reason SCOTUS decided to address the Prop 8 case was to address the general question of whether defendant interveners have standing to appeal. They weren't ruling on the question of same sex marriage. And they aren't in any hurry to rule on that, so if Utah appeals to the 10th, we'll win and all states in the 10th will get SSM and that will be as far as this particular case goes. SCOTUS will decline to hear it.

  • 50. Bruno71  |  December 28, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    I agree with this, although it's possible that the governor might take the bigger picture into account. Governors of states tend to be more "establishment" oriented, and have the opportunity to play buddy with governors in other states from time to time. That said, he could never explain dropping the appeal of the case, so he's pretty much backed into a corner on the issue.

  • 51. Bruno71  |  December 28, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    There was too much hesitation on Gay, Inc.'s part to take a lawsuit into the federal court system. There was a vague sense of "it's too soon," and none of the supposedly great legal minds in the LGBT community seemed to want to go to federal court, at least not without trying this "amendment vs. revision" thing at the state court level first. When the Perry vs. Schwarzenegger case was brought to the SF District Court, it was initially looked upon with trepidation and skepticism. Only after the case went so obviously in our favor, and subsequently Judge Walker's landmark ruling, did everyone start to feel comfortable at the federal level.

  • 52. Bruno71  |  December 28, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Right now we should only assume the outside help is being sought for the petition for a stay pending appeal. That likely just involves crafting the petition in such a way to give the state the best chance of getting a stay granted. I doubt whoever they involve is going to really be at the forefront of the appeal itself, but we won't know for sure until later.

  • 53. Bruno71  |  December 28, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    Yes, I think it's realistic that this isn't settled before 2017. SCOTUS can deny cert on cases until they feel the pot has percolated in the states for long enough, and many believe that could be 5 years or more. What bothers me a little about Ginsburg is she doesn't seem too concerned at this pace considering she may end up leaving an opening to the right on an already pretty conservative court. While I do think someone should be able to work as long as they want, this is a pretty unique job she has. I almost hate to say it, but I wish she'd consider retiring before the next Republican steps into the presidency, for the sole reason of the political leanings of SCOTUS.

  • 54. bythesea  |  December 28, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    Freerepublic is heavily birther and has already declared him eligible and further questioning a bannable offense.

  • 55. Stefan  |  December 28, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Which will ultimately be provide us with the case which reaches the Supreme Court and results in full equality nationwide.

  • 56. Straight Ally #3008  |  December 28, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    There's no delusion quite like freeper delusion.

  • 57. Stefan  |  December 28, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    The dissent in Windsor had to do with standing of the federal government in the case, and not over the merits of same-sex marriage.

  • 58. bythesea  |  December 28, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    It is indeed realist that it may take that long, but my sense now is that it won't. If SCOTUS let's it stay a the Circuit Courts, I could see ME reaching most of the states sooner than one might expect, or perhaps they'll bite the bullet and take a case sooner than they'd planned.

  • 59. bythesea  |  December 28, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    *realistic

  • 60. Anthony  |  December 28, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Oh boy you should read the comments on that site. They literally think the world is ending because people are accepting that their teenage kids are gay. They still have that 1980s mentality of gays, in their minds, nothing has changed.

  • 61. Anthony  |  December 28, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    What about Scalia? He's 77 and a massively overweight, for all you know, he could drop dead tomorrow.

  • 62. Anthony  |  December 28, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    I think at the rate things are changing, it will all be settled by June 2015.

  • 63. grod  |  December 28, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    davep, you believe as I do that 10th Circuit Appeals Court decision in Kitchen vs Herbert will also impact on Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, and Oklahoma. An aspect of ssm contained in this 'case' is recognition of valid marriages from other states. Ohio's Judge Black acknowledged Utah's Judge Shelby decision in his ruling. Black found the 2004 amendment to Ohio's constitution achieve by referendum fatally flawed as neither legislatures or fellow citizens can abridge an individuals fundamental rights. Two rights are superimposed on one another's liberty rights – freedom to live when you chooses and freedom to marry and remain married.

  • 64. Zack12  |  December 28, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    I expect any case from the 5th circuit to be against us. As shown with the abortion rulings,they will simply make up anything they can to push their very far right agenda foward.

  • 65. Bruno71  |  December 28, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    That could happen. That would most likely quiet the discussion about Ginsburg's retirement date.

  • 66. Bruno71  |  December 28, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Perhaps. It's also possible that the conservative justices wanted to address the merits of the case, in hopes that Kennedy would join them, to keep California in the inequality column. In lieu of it backfiring, Scalia voted against standing and kept the merits decision from happening.

  • 67. bythesea  |  December 28, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    Well, I'd guess the average age of freepers is mid-to-late sixties at best, if not older. They're stuck in the late 1970s and early 1980s. excluding the ones stuck around the 1850s.

  • 68. hank kelly  |  December 28, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    "Utah officials say it will cost some $2 million to hire outside counsel to fight a federal judge's ruling striking down the state's voter-approved constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage."

    This money could be better spent for food and housing for the poor. Religion can have strange priorities. Instead, it must be spent to prevent two people from marrying each other. http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Utah-s-gay-

  • 69. Craig Nelson  |  December 29, 2013 at 4:10 am

    If that's the case (and it probably is) they'd be better just sticking in the stay motion and take what's coming with serenity. On the other hand maybe they are getting outside counsel as a form of insurance. If they lose they want to be able to say that they did everything possible. People won't be able to say 'if only we had outside counsel' and the political damage from losing is limited. Expensive insurance, though.

  • 70. Dr. Z  |  December 29, 2013 at 11:49 am

    If the Republicans won the 2016 elections and they were presented with an immediate SCOTUS opening in Jan 2017, the earliest date they could get a justice confirmed probably wouldn't be until August or September. It would take some time to screen candidates, and that couldn't begin until the Attorney General and the AAGs had been nominated and approved by the Senate. Important as it is, filling a SCOTUS vacancy would have to take a backseat to filling the Executive Branch openings. This is true regardless of which party wins the election, BTW. What the court would probably do in that case is work on cases that weren't deadlocked and hold over to the following term those cases that were closely divided. They'd probably hold new hearings in the 2017-2018 term so that the new justice could participate (assuming the new justice didn't have to recuse due to prior involvement, as Kagan had to do in a couple of cases.)

  • 71. Dr. Z  |  December 29, 2013 at 11:57 am

    It never seemed to me that Cooper's heart was in it. He's an excellent attorney but he was dealt a crappy hand in trying to build a case against ME. Pugno, not Cooper, was always the mouthpiece for the Prop 8 proponents – and it was easy to see he was a true bigot. Cooper almost never make statements to the media, and after SCOTUS ruled I think it's significant that Cooper didn't associate himself with the dead-enders who tried to forestall statewide application of Walker's ruling.

    Clement, on the other hand, strikes me as a garden variety homophobe.

  • 72. MightyAcorn  |  December 29, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    The right-wing self-righteous dogmatist bastards always live forever though…Strom Thurman, Jesse Helms, Dick Cheney and his undead zombie heart, etc. Scalia strikes me as one of those guys, a dyed-in-the-wool dominionist who'll cling to life as long as he can draw a wheezing, sulfurous breath to puff out his hate-and spite-filled opinions.

    Too bad there isn't really a Hell, he'd be the perfect law dog for Satan….he has been so far, anyway. IMHO.

  • 73. Lynn E  |  December 29, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    From his dissent in Windsor, I thought he was pretty close to popping a vein anyway.

  • 74. Lynn E  |  December 29, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    Maybe an outsider will be able to address the questions posed by the 10th Circuit when the rejected the stay the first time. I do not think they will be able to come up with convincing arguments, but the AG's attempts so far are an embarrassment to all Utahns. I hate the fact that my state is pursuing a stay and appeal, but expect an AG to clearly argue a case. This case will be decided when SCOTUS rules or denies cert, since Utah will not accept the writing on the wall.

  • 75. Bruno71  |  December 29, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    George Wallace even got shot and almost lived to be 80. Not coincidentally, right-wing politicians seem to mostly be filthy rich and can afford the best medical care.

  • 76. MightyAcorn  |  December 29, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    Funny how that works, huh? 😛

  • 77. Jim  |  December 29, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    $2 million probably is far less than Utah residents spent to take away Californians' rights in Yes on 8 campaign.

  • 78. Chris M.  |  December 29, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    I believe it's roughly what Clement was paid to defend DOMA.

  • 79. Dann  |  December 29, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    One can only hope!

  • 80. Straight Dave  |  December 29, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    That just shows you what $2M and a superstar lawyer get you when facing solid facts and law. This UT case is so DOA that no sane person would spend 2M of their own money. So either it's someone else's money or they're not sane.

  • 81. Zack12  |  December 29, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    Exactly,I understand the fear but if Edie Windsor had listened to them,DOMA will still be the law of the land.

  • 82. Bruno71  |  December 29, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    I remember reading the take from one of the many law pundits back in 2009, and he said that rather than be afraid of a backlash ruling from SCOTUS, we should rush to get it in front of them ASAP. With 4 liberal justices and a conservative one with a strong pro-equality track record, it could actually have been more risky to bring these suits at a later time, when the court may swing further to the right on the issue.

  • 83. Christian  |  December 29, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    Thanks y'all!

  • 84. ebohlman  |  December 30, 2013 at 6:37 am

    And let's not forget that Clement was being paid to defend several cases through several levels of jurisprudence, not just one case at the circuit level.

  • 85. Warren  |  December 30, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    If the appellate court agrees with Shelby’s decision to strike down Utah’s same-sex marriage ban, that could/should strike down Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming's ban on same sex marriages.

    It would be nice to gain 4 more states on the side of justice so early in the year.

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