May 19, 2014
A federal judge in Utah has issued a preliminary injunction requiring state officials to recognize the legally-performed marriages of same-sex couples in the state before the Supreme Court issued its stay.
The ACLU reports:
A federal judge ordered the state today to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who were legally married in Utah after a federal court struck down a state ban, but before the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily halted additional marriages from taking place. Over 1,000 same-sex couples married in Utah during that time period. The couples are represented by American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Utah, and Strindberg & Scholnick, LLC, who sought the preliminary injunction for the marriages to be recognized while their lawsuit continues.
“Our clients, like over 1,000 other same-sex couples, were legally married and those marriages cannot now be taken away from them,” said John Mejia, legal director of the ACLU of Utah. “While we await a permanent decision, we are relieved that our clients will receive the full recognition they deserve as lawfully married couples.”
Today’s preliminary injunction is not a permanent order, but it reflects the court’s determination that the plaintiffs’ are likely to prevail on their legal claims and would suffer irreparable harm if their marriages were stripped of recognition. Today’s order was given a 21-day stay to allow the state to respond.
The separate challenge to Utah’s same-sex marriage ban, Kitchen v. Herbert, is still on appeal to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Arguments were heard in early April, and the three-judge panel is working on a decision on the merits.
This case is Evans v. Utah.
UPDATE 8:19PM ET: The Utah Attorney General’s Office has issued an emailed statement: “From Attorney General Sean D. Reyes:
“The Attorney General’s Office has not made an immediate determination about whether it will appeal Judge Kimball’s ruling. According to the Court, this decision directly relates to the same-sex marriages that took place within the 17-day window and not the ultimate legal questions in Kitchen vs. Herbert. We are currently assessing the legal impact of today’s decision and will respond within the 21-day allotted time period.””