Utah Officials Delay Marriage Appeal To Supreme Court, While All Counties Now Issue Licenses

Utah WedingUtah officials keep looking for ways to roll back marriage equality in their state, but time is not cooperating with them. The state attorney general’s office had originally said it was going to ask the Supreme Court Thursday for a stay of the Dec. 19 federal court ruling allowing same-sex marriages. Now it’s pushing back its targeted deadline “for a few days” so it can seek advice from outside lawyers.

The problem for the state is two-fold. First, the appeal to the Supreme Court is a last-ditch effort that doesn’t seem likely to succeed. On Christmas Eve, a federal appeals court rejected the state’s request to halt the weddings. With two federal rulings against the state, it’s hard to see why the Supreme Court would want to intervene, particularly so soon after its marriage equality decision.

In the meantime, complicating the state’s effort is the sheer number of newly married couples. Hundreds of weddings are taking place, which the state will have to nullify if it does somehow get the ruling overturned. As a sign that even the most conservative parts of Utah are giving into the inevitable, the four counties that were holding out announced on Thursday that it would begin issuing marriage licenses to any applicants, meaning marriage equality is in effect for the entire state.

It could be spring before the issue is finally resolved. But the longer state officials have to drag out their appeal, the more difficult their task becomes. Time is on the side of marriage equality–even in Utah.

Photo credit: Freedom to Marry