The State of Utah Requests Stay and Files Notice of Appeal with the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals on Evans v Utah District Court Decision
June 5, 2014— The Utah Attorney General’s Office requested a stay and filed a Notice of Appeal with the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in response to the May 19, 2014, federal court ruling in Evans v. State of Utah that the State must recognize same-sex marriages performed in Utah during a 17-day window when the unions were allowed.
“Although the State recognizes the deep burden placed on families who must continue to wait for a final decision regarding their rights and those of their children, any decision by the highest courts that results in undoing what the District Court has granted could be more disruptive than awaiting certainty and finality,” stated Attorney General Sean Reyes.
“It is clear that the District Court understood the complexity and intricacy of the legal issues surrounding its order by allowing twenty-one days for measured consideration of implementation or appeal,” said AG Reyes. “We have carefully weighed and researched all options, including the viability of recognizing only those marriages performed during the 17-day window, but cannot ignore the fact that Evans v Utah and Kitchen v Herbert are inseparably intertwined.”
According to the AG’s office, the Kitchen case, the Tenth Circuit appeal in the Evans case (regarding federal law), or a decision by the Utah Supreme Court applying to Evans and other cases (on state law) could individually or collectively impact, as a matter of law, Judge Kimball’s decision.
“Those of us working on the case take no pleasure in prolonging the legal process, but to immediately recognize benefits or marriages performed during the 17-day period is premature pending the outcomes of these other decisions,” said AG Reyes.
“If it were somehow possible, an immediate decision by the U.S. Supreme Court on all issues in question, would be welcomed by the State,” General Reyes continued. “In the absence of that, the State will continue to consider every avenue to further the legal process as expeditiously as possible while asking the Courts to stay further action until the ultimate questions regarding recognition of marriage and constitutionality of Utah law can be answered with finality. The State looks forward to the day when these issues are resolved and Utah, along with its citizens, have certainty and a clear understanding of the law.”
Missy W. Larsen