Appeals court refuses to stop gay marriages in Utah!

In yet another blockbuster news day in Utah, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to stop gay marriages from proceeding in Utah, Chris Geidner at Buzzfeed reports.

This means that marriages of gay couples will continue in Utah throughout the appeal of last Friday’s surprise federal district court verdict, striking down the state’s gay marriage ban, essentially making gay marriage legal in the state.

As a result of that decision, gay couples swarmed local county offices to get married, and in most parts of Utah, did – in droves.


Lesbian couple married in Utah after a district court legalized the marriage of gay couples in the state.

Utah state officials – who are basically Republican and Mormon, two blocs who have gone out of their way to harm the gay community with gusto – were hoping to stop the decision from going into effect until it could be appeals. In essence, putting gay marriages on hold until the case could be decided by an appellate court. First, the district court said nuh-uh, then today the appellate court said the same thing. Neither will stop the marriages pending appeal.

That means that the Mormon Republicans’ last chance at killing love during the Christmas holiday is an appeal to the US Supreme Court.  The appeal will go to Justice Sotomayor, who may decide on her own, or may refer it to the entire court for consideration.

If that doesn’t work, gay couples are going to continue to get married while the state of Utah, led by the Republicans and the Mormons, attempts to un-marry thousands of gay families, many with children.

Good luck with that.

(I’m told that in order to better see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me.)

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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59 Responses to “Appeals court refuses to stop gay marriages in Utah!”

  1. fletcher says:

    The Mormans could have learned from an old adage of Hollywood: “Give the people what they want and they’ll come out in droves.” And they’ll never get that genie back into the bottle.

  2. Whitewitch says:

    It is a pity that we have labeled universal principles as Neo-paganism. I understand that, like the Jesus Freak movement of the 60’s, paganism enjoyed a resurrection and enhancement at the same time…however, many of the understandings/feelings actually can be traced to our pre-christian foremothers and fathers.

  3. Whitewitch says:

    Oh gosh you must be as old as I…Gardnerian is not spoken of much anymore is it? Yes it does indeed, allegedly, apply to the good as well. Like you though I send out good just cause I like it – when it comes back that is great whether 1 fold or 3.

  4. rmthunter says:

    As zorbear pointed out below, it’s all relative.

  5. rmthunter says:

    I always just figured it was a bit of Gardnerian overkill.

    And seeing as how it also applies to the good we send out, equal measure is just encouragement to be an even better person.

  6. Monoceros Forth says:

    What can I say? Neo-paganism is a rather modern phenomenon and most of what’s important about it dates back to perhaps the early 20th century.

  7. dcinsider says:

    There goes traditional polygamy as we know it.

  8. Whitewitch says:

    Got to love the Dragon Speaks!

  9. Whitewitch says:

    I think the three-fold thing is just a reminder that while the ugly they sent out was traveling about it picked up force on its return….plus 3 is a nice number. Nice to run into a kind-hearted soul though!

  10. rmthunter says:

    The thing about lifetime appointments for federal judges is that they’re not supposed to be swayed by political concerns in their decisions — i.e., getting re-elected.

    And lo! and behold, they’re not swayed by political concerns in their opinions. (With a few notable exceptions.)

  11. rmthunter says:

    I’ve never really bought into the three-fold thing. I figure for most people, equal measure is bad enough.

    I’m basically a kind-hearted soul.

  12. zorbear says:

    Actually, I am really, really smart, but I can’t read or write yet. Daddy Bear set up Dragon Speaks on the computer for me, so the machine does all the real work…

  13. Dan in Houston says:

    If Justice Sotomayor allows this to stand (with her voting against gay marriages) I suspect it would be because she knows we would win this one too. Better to allow in one state, than allow in all states.

  14. Thom Allen says:

    What amazed me was the speed with which the LGBTQ couples got the word and got to city hall to get marriage licenses. And, how quickly they found RELIGIOUS (and non-religious) officiants to marry them. In UTAH!

  15. Whitewitch says:

    Justice delayed is truly justice denied…like Mr. Turing…like the women who have passed before us without rights and now women who have long fought for rights losing ground. I am glad you were here long enough to enjoy the right to marry BeccaM. Marriage is wonderful when you have a companion who loves you, cares for you and stands by you. I have such a wonderful companion…one I love very much and one that I have had the privilege to have been married to simply because we have body parts that are not the same.

  16. Whitewitch says:

    It could have been worse…we could have found a Bush to put in as governor…sadly we are a somewhat Red state in a weird kind of way….one which I will never understand. You are right though we are leading America in many ways into tomorrow!

  17. Whitewitch says:

    Just like their Romney Tsunami….they really do think they are right and that everyone agrees with them…silly silly kids.

  18. Whitewitch says:

    It would be grand if it were Utah that forced it to the Supreme’s who them found it unconstitutional so that the whole Country becomes a Marry Who Love Country…with non recourse by those who hate in the name of God!!!

  19. Dakotahgeo says:

    Gotta love the Republicans/TeaPods finding out the hard way that trying to pack the Courts with ‘activist judges’ who think ‘their’ way can be a real bitch! Just can’t get those little duckies in a row, eh? Damn!

  20. Dakotahgeo says:

    A Constitutional Amendment on what level, State? That was found unconstitutional already by a Federal Judge. On a National level it’s too late. Utah is the 18th State to attain marriage equality, robbing the States by one vote for the 2/3 majority to pass a Constitutional amendment. It doesn’t get any better than that!

  21. Dakotahgeo says:

    I’m curious as to how much money the Utah Legislature/LDS is going to send Judge Sotomayor or the entire SCOTUS to not be ‘activist’ judges?? Could possibly pay off the US debt with it, no?? And listen to them laugh in Utah’s face!

  22. karmanot says:

    Yep, our former governator, a serial philanderer, was all up on marriage rights. The fact that we elected two moron actors in my lifetime is discouraging, but CA still leads the nation to the future.

  23. Whitewitch says:

    A child prodigy – already typing and complete sentences!!! Wow…well done Zorbear! Yes 60 years ago is really long…at 100 it is antique….

  24. Whitewitch says:

    Three fold shall it return to thee…is the standard. So I am thinking it is going to be pretty ugly for those guys!!!

  25. Stev84 says:

    As long has he can get some more money from his donors, he is happy.

  26. rmthunter says:


  27. karmanot says:

    That works! :-)

  28. pappyvet says:

    And the wingnuts brains have some fartfignewton…….farklesmooten…….it has something to do with small round cars that look like bugs……no I’m pretty sure in their case it’s fartfignewton. ;]

  29. karmanot says:

    Gives new meaning to the word ‘fathead.’

  30. zorbear says:

    depends on when you were born. Since I’m only 3.5 years old, something from sixty years ago seems pretty old to me!


  31. BeccaM says:

    Aye, the “let the people vote on it” became the go-to strategy for any politician whose actual position was “I think gay people deserve to suffer and be discriminated against” — but who now, in the current cultural environment can’t come right out and admit that’s what they actually want.

    Our own governor in NM, Susana Martinez, trotted out a variant of the same line. As did Chris Christie and Arnold Schwarzenegger when they vetoed marriage equality bills passed by their state legislatures.

    It’s a way of trying to have a particular outcome — discrimination against gay and lesbian couples — while simultaneously not owning or taking any responsibility for it, secure in the presumed belief that a majority will almost always vote against the rights of a minority, especially if lobbied heavily with lies and slander. And it’s a cowardly thing to do, too.

    I don’t appreciate the position itself, but I do have more respect for someone willing to own their beliefs than someone who tries to hide their bigotry behind a mob.

  32. karmanot says:

    Got me some major schadenfreude going on.

  33. Monoceros Forth says:

    Can a saying coined in the ’50s or ’60s really be that old?

  34. FLL says:

    Complete fiction. As NOM is losing more and more battles, Brian Brown seems to be getting chunkier these days.

  35. rmthunter says:

    The reason those referendums got through is that no one challenged them, which is probably the first thing that should have happened. As the recent decisions in NM and Utah demonstrate, there are solid Constitutional objections and ample Supreme Court precedents forbidding such things.

    They are all very vulnerable because they all violate the 5th and 14th Amendments.

    But if no one sues, nothing’s going to happen.

  36. The_Fixer says:

    Oh, I agree that rights should not be voted on. This was a hypothetical. And I certainly hope that the days of rights being put to referendum are over. But I thought that in the 70s, and look at what happened since then. You never know what kind of charlatan is going come along and try to make a case that it should be that way.

  37. rmthunter says:

    Of course — Eastman is blowing smoke. Unless, of course, he is clinically delusional, which is not outside the realm of possibility.

  38. jomicur says:

    The bigots seem to overestimate the ease with which they might (or might not) get a federal marriage amendment passed. It’s not as simple as a straight up or down vote in 50 state legislatures. The procedures vary from state to state, and a number of them make passing a federal amendment quite difficult. Here in PA, for instance, it requires a supermajority of two consecutive legislative sessions, followed by a vote by the people. That’s a pretty high bar (particularly since polls show a majority here favor marriage equality), and several states make it similarly difficult. Even in the doubtful event that a marriage amendment could make it out of congress, the haters would have a long, arduous, expensive fight ahead of them. I daresay a LOSING fight.

  39. digitaldaydreaming . says:

    All those campaign donations to prop 8 may have actually bolstered the
    marriage equality movement. I can’t help but laugh at at the irony of it all.

  40. Bose says:

    Gotta love the closer on the 10th’s ruling: In addition, we direct expedited consideration of the appeal.

    Denying the stay makes it clear that the court doesn’t expect the marriage ban to win and that it doesn’t believe gay couples marrying are causing grievous harm to the state. Yet, those factors aren’t enough to wrap everything up with a tidy bow… they want to see this advanced and resolved sooner than later.

  41. Indigo says:

    How quickly the tide turns, especially when the concept of equality before the law finally sinks in.

  42. rmthunter says:

    I even saw a note about a priest from the Old Catholic Church (i.e., not obedient to Rome) performing weddings.

  43. rmthunter says:

    Even not counting Utah, there are seventeen states with marriage equality, and likely a couple more before an amendment could make its way to the state legislatures — if it could get the necessary 2/3 of both Houses of Congress, which it couldn’t get during Bush’s Republican congress. Somehow, I don’t see New York or Illinois voting for a marriage amendment, which would need 3/4 of the states. I think even Brian Brown can do the math on that one (although apparently John Eastman can’t: Note to Eastman: a convention would need to be requested by 2/3 of the states. Good luck with that.)

  44. rmthunter says:

    Sorry, but at this point, all I can think of is “Hee, hee, hee!”

    Or maybe the old Pagan dictum: “What you send out comes back to you.”

  45. rmthunter says:

    The legal landscape has changed on these issues rather dramatically in the past decade or so, starting with Romer and the reversal of Bowers in Lawrence v. Texas. With the overturn of Section 3 of DOMA, the contrast between the harm to the state (none) and the harm to the plaintiffs (violation of a fundamental right and loss of tangible federal benefits) is in much higher relief.

    Besides, the Utah motion was particularly inept, and the plaintiffs’ response shredded their arguments..

  46. rmthunter says:

    One thing that the recent decisions in New Mexico, Utah, and Ohio have stressed is that “the people” do not have the right to vote on the fundamental rights of minorities — those rights are immune to plebiscites. I think the day of the anti-marriage referendum is over, because those can now be challenged immediately on federal constitutional grounds.

  47. Bill_Perdue says:

    Merry Saturnalia and a happy Juvenalia. And joy to our brothers and sisters in Utah.

  48. Monoceros Forth says:

    Wait, what and when was this incident? Or is it just a witty fiction?

  49. FLL says:

    The NOM alternate universe is imploding, and Brian Brown is now binge eating s’mores and Chick-fil-A. It’s hard enough for Brown to hear Antonin Scalia honestly predict nationwide marriage equality in a short space of time. But the cruelest piece of candor was when Brian Brown asked Scalia, “Do I look fat in this dress?” and Scalia replied with a simple “yes.”

  50. The_Fixer says:

    You know, these decisions of late (Utah and New Mexico, in addition to the limited ruling in Ohio) are biting the asses of social conservatives would like to refer to themselves as “strict constitutionalists”. Of course, there are those who label themselves as such, like Scalia, but we know them to be less strict constitutionalists and more theological jurists.

    It’s kind of a “be careful what you wish for” situation, isn’t it? These really are decisions that go right to the heart of the constitution – equal treatment and equal protection. In order to successfully nullify those arguments, substantial harm to the state, therefore harming society, has to be shown. It can’t be shown as it doesn’t exist.

    It appears that although the 10th is conservative, they also realize a correct legal argument when they hear one. That has got to bug the hell out of social conservatives who label themselves as “strict constitutionalists”, knowing that they really haven’t got a legal case. Their case is really one that serves one particular religious viewpoint. Constitutionally, they can’t prevail for that reason.

    Which brings up an interesting potential situation. In those states where the argument “Let the people vote on it” succeeds, will the people vote the way that social conservatives want and hope for them to vote? After a few more of these decisions come down the pipe, I’d say that in all but the most conservative of bible-belt states, the answer would be no. They will recognize the validity of our argument, and see what the courts have decided and figure that maybe there’s something to our arguments.

  51. bkmn says:

    And the day that Brian S. Brown has to apply for unemployment benefits moves much, much closer.

    And Fischer, Perkins, and the rest of the nasty lot too.

  52. Monoceros Forth says:

    That’s an unexpected bit of news! Probably though it heralds the start of a hard fight. Utah comes pretty close to being the Defence of Marriage headquarters, although I suppose Colorado might have a better claim to the position. At any rate a lot of Mormon money has flowed out of Utah to fund bigotry in other states. The loss of Utah, more than the loss of almost any other state, will be a terrible blow to the movement’s prestige and hence its ability to raise funds.

    I wonder what the endgame is going to be for this struggle. I’m guessing that there’ll be a last push for a constitutional amendment because it’s the only recourse left that would stop the spread of marriage equality on a state-by-state level.

  53. Tor says:

    I keep seeing photos of clergy persons exercising their religious freedom by conducting these ceremonies.

  54. 2patricius2 says:

    Yes, all the bigots have a bad case of the sadz. They fear it is terminal, because their world is falling apart around them.

  55. cole3244 says:

    well someone will not have a joyous xmas this year, why, because someone they hate will.
    congrats utah you have arrived stay awhile.

  56. BeccaM says:

    I’m not disagreeing. It’s just that such arguments in the past didn’t make enough of a difference with the courts.

    They wouldn’t admit it, but IMHO the real reason such stays were routinely granted in the past wasn’t the concern trollish state argument “oh, we don’t want to hurt those poor gay couples with a marriage we’re doing our damnedest to annul”. Rather the “harm” (and I use the quotes deliberately) caused to the bigoted state through the creation of a pool of legally married gay and lesbian couples who would have standing to file suit against the state refusing to recognize their marriages.

    Believe me, I — and many others — know well the day to day fear of not having any legal protection for our relationship. And growing older by the day. Been more than a few times when others have counseled patience, and I’ve growled in response, “We don’t have forever. Justice delayed is justice denied.”

  57. bkmn says:

    My thoughts on reasoning for denying a stay – from the state side, they have presented nothing new, no real reasons that same sex marriage would harm the state.

    From the pro-gay side: Prime example of harm is one same sex couple with health issues that aren’t allowed to marry, and are denied federal benefits (social security survivor benefits for example, or in the case of Windsor, a tax burden that would apply to same sex couples but not to married str8 folk).

    One of the criteria for not issuing a stay is provable harm to the plaintiffs. The harm is provable.

  58. BeccaM says:

    Wowzers. I really did not think the 10th would refuse to issue a stay — that particular Circuit court tends to be rather conservative, due to the Senators whose okie-dokey were generally required for nomination approvals.

  59. AnitaMann says:

    Shorter appeal for a stay: Please stop it now. This is causing great pain and irreparable harm to millions of us bigots! Heh.

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