Supreme Court stops gay marriages in Utah pending court case outcome

This just in.  The Supreme Court has put a stop to Utah’s gay weddings pending the outcome of the state of Utah’s appeal.

As you may recall, Utah saw a flood of gay marriages – over 1,000 – following a federal court striking down the state’s ban on such marriages two weeks ago on December 20, 2013.

The state of Utah asked the appellate court to put a stop to the weddings, pending the case’s outcome, but the court said no (as did the federal court itself).


Among other reasons for asking for the stay, the state of Utah (which is in cahoots with the Mormons), claimed that they were looking out for the best interest of gay people who would suffer if they got married now, only to have their marriages undone later.


Mormons via Shutterstock

Of course, there’s an easy way for the Mormons/GOP complex in Utah not to harm gay people by undoing their marriages – drop the appeal and stop asking the court to undo gay people’s marriages.

At this point the damage is done. The marriages have already happened.  So the Mormons, and the Republican party, once again find themselves on the side of trying to un-marry gay couples.

It should make for an interesting court case, as it’s one thing for the court to reverse a finding that essentially made gay marriage legal.  It’s another for the court to vitiate thousands of marriages already performed.  As the GOP-Mormons have already themselves admitted, that’s an unacceptable harm that the court should avoid.

Of course, if the court does find that gay marriages should stop, but those already married should stay married, then that only helps a future victory in court as it’s hard to imagine a judge not choking on the contradiction of some gay Utahans being permitted to wed but not others.  Not to mention, we now have all the more test-cases of just how “harmful” gay marriages will be to people in Utah.  I’m guessing there hasn’t been a lot of harm these past few weeks, nor will there be in the months ahead.

(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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65 Responses to “Supreme Court stops gay marriages in Utah pending court case outcome”

  1. Stev84 says:

    It’s almost as if they don’t entirely believe their on BS and have to make sure there is some punishment in case they are wrong.

  2. Mrcravens87 says:

    There are a few states that I believe this would be harder, if Utah goes, it says a lot for the progress that has been made.

  3. JayRandal says:

    I thought it was too soon to celebrate Gay marriages in Utah. Mormons are still anti-Gays.

  4. So glad we fell for the “It’s the Supreme Court, stupid” argument when
    we were pressured into voting for Barry. That worked out well. It was a
    “liberal” justice who is making people’s miserable. friv 2

  5. BeccaM says:

    And let’s not forget Mitt Romney’s grandpappy.

  6. Mark_in_MN says:

    I don’t think the issuance of the stay, done by the court a as a whole, not by Sotomayor, is something that falls in the liberal/conservative divide. And I think it was appropriate and even smart for Sotomayor to refer it to the whole court. If she’d denied the stay, they’d have just appealed to other justices and would have found one to do it. But referring it, she just got a decision with less confusion and possibly less politics.

  7. Well, I can think of fifty-six Mormons who are resting easier in their graves tonight now that the Supreme Court has at least for now restored traditional marriage to Utah. And that would be Brigham Young and his fifty-five wives.

  8. perljammer says:

    Well, most of my previous reply was intended to be tongue in cheek. Adam and Eve, Noah, and Sodom & Gomorrah were all cases where God took direct action to punish transgressors; Samson was acting as God’s agent on Earth, the way modern-day religious authorities like to believe they are doing when they call for the persecution of the sinful. After all, God seems to have lost interest in intervening directly, and somebody’s gotta take up the slack.

  9. Butch1 says:

    Surprise, neither is Obama.

  10. Butch1 says:

    Someone with a sense of humor.

  11. Butch1 says:

    It’s why I loved “Six Feet Under” so much! ;-)

  12. Butch1 says:

    And so should Justice Sotomayer.

  13. Butch1 says:

    What in the world is wrong with Sotomayer? She could have ignored this. She has opened yet another can of worms.

  14. LanceThruster says:

    You should see the looks I get when I say things such as, “If God hadn’t wanted to us to eat bacon, She wouldn’t have made it taste so good!”
    I can tell the level of someone’s high wit if they laugh versus looking PO’d.

  15. nicho says:

    You have to finger a flute. With a kazoo, it’s all done with the tongue.

  16. karmanot says:

    It’s relative. A kazoo is not like a flute.

  17. karmanot says:

    God doesn’t hate gays. After all, she’s black, lesbian, a mother and proud of it. Who else do think could create the world in 7 days? A woman, that’s who.

  18. Thom Allen says:

    Oh, I don’t know. Some of the modern-day miracles are pretty impressive.

  19. Naja pallida says:

    Maybe the other way around, but Mormons don’t want to risk going after other churches, because most of them already consider Mormonism to be some kind of deviant cult… but Mormons want to quietly make everyone think they’re no different than any other form of evangelical Christianity, without ever actually teaching even most of their own converts the entire truth.

  20. Monoceros Forth says:

    Oh, dear God XD

    (Although I find myself thinking, who fills up inflatable women with helium?)

  21. BeccaM says:

    I know. Until New Mexico legalized gay marriage last month, we were in that same situation. The Feds would want us to file as married, while New Mexico says we have to use our 1040 forms for determining our state taxes.

    That question definitely remains wide open for married gay and lesbian couples living in all the other non-equality states.

  22. Monoceros Forth says:

    Part of that puzzlement is for rhetorical effect, you know :p

    But part of it isn’t. All that stuff you mention–Noah, Sodom, Samson–is all just as much in the distant and unreal past for the fundies as it is for you and me. The same thing is true for those miracles that are supposed to have occurred more recently, in historical antiquity. Water into wine, the feeding of the five thousand, the resurrection of Lazarus–all of these marvellous things, while attested in documents written far more recently and far better preserved than anything in the Old Testament, are still just as distant and unreal as if they’d occurred in the fabled days of Moses or David.

    My point is, there’s a difference between believing in the principle of earthly evidence for divine will and actually observing it. We have stories about such things but who among us have actually seen it for ourselves? Oh, people grope for examples to this day, but I don’t think anyone really believes that it’s happening. Modern-day divine miracles are too pathetic; modern-day divine punishments are too unpredictable.

  23. emjayay says:

    I believe that in some situations a Supreme Court justice is called on to just follow the letter of the law without the opportunity for a broader kind of judgement called for in rendering opinions on actual cases before the court.

  24. Jafafa Hots says:

    The Supreme Court is majority Catholic, and Obama only helped. “Liberal” Catholic Justice Sotomayor did the most incredible mental contortions possible to protect the Catholic church’s “rights” to discriminate, etc.

    Obama is one of the most conservative presidents this country has ever had. Don’t let the fact that his opponents were unhinged ultra-rightwingers fool you into thinking this conservative president is a liberal.

    NIXON was more of a liberal.
    And now they’ll try to tell us to vote for Clinton Part 2.

  25. Whitewitch says:

    Just because he is cute is no reason to go on and on about him….okay yes – let’s go back to talking about Aaron…way more fun and it seems to really bother him as well.

  26. perljammer says:

    Depending on state law, income tax filing could get interesting. For
    example, California law requires you to use the same filing status on
    your state return that you use on your Federal return. I don’t know what the law is in other states.

  27. Jafafa Hots says:

    “We need to temporarily suspend your rights to protect you from being harmed in case we’re successful in PERMANENTLY eliminating your rights.”

    Assholes. “Protect.” What disgusting bullshit. This should be thrown out simply because the potential harm the cite is the harm they want to inflict.

  28. perljammer says:

    How could you possibly be puzzled about something that’s such a basic component of human nature? Earthly punishment for sinful behavior has been going on since Adam and Eve were evicted from Eden for eating the Apple. Essentially the whole human population of the Earth was wiped out at one point (Noah, remember?). Then there was that whole Sodom and Gomorrah thing. And don’t forget Samson smiting all those Philistines with the jawbone of an ass.

    Earthly reward for the righteous is another matter, though. Just ask Job.

  29. LanceThruster says:

    I do not fear anyone’s god(s)…just their goddamn proxies.

    Jeebus, protect me from your followers.

  30. Monoceros Forth says:

    I had just that film in mind in fact :p

  31. Monoceros Forth says:

    Oh, quite, quite! I’ve always been just a bit puzzled about the obsession that the godly have with other folks’ sins. Surely it shouldn’t matter to them? They’re going to Heaven–at least they tell us so, at every quiet moment–and you think they’d be content in knowing that the day will come when they’ll get their reward and leave the sodomites and everyone else they hate to burn. Except that isn’t enough. Supernatural punishment isn’t enough.

    I think I know what it’s about. I don’t think that any Jesus freak, even of the sort who’s so openly convinced that he’s going to be Rapt up that he’ll waste time worrying about what’ll happen if the Rapture occurs while he’s driving, is ever really convinced that he’s going to get the reward he feels he deserves. Yes, he’ll talk a loud line about being “saved” and assured of his place in Heaven but still…in the darkest hours of the night, the truest believer isn’t really that certain in his belief.

    So the promise of heavenly reward–and punishment–just isn’t quite enough to satisfy the righteous soul. There must be some earthly reward for the righteous and earthly punishment for the wicked. It is not right that two men should live in married sin without any punishment visited upon them. Oh, sure, they’ll burn in Hell later, but what does that matter? They’re happy now and that’s not right. God can’t possibly intend for them to know any happiness in this world or in the next. It’s not enough that they should be punished in the hereafter. They should be punished also in the here and now. Certainly that’s what God wills.

  32. nicho says:

    Downvote all you want, Barrybots, but it’s true — and you know it. We were suckered.

  33. nicho says:

    The reason she has her job for life is that she’s not supposed to be “appeasing” anyone — except the constitution.

  34. basenjilover says:

    Isn’t Sotomayor a Catholic and she’s doing this to appease the church?

  35. nicho says:

    Now you know why Mormons were “persecuted” and had to go all the way out to Utah to settle. It wasn’t because of their religious beliefs, as they claim. The late 1800s saw hundreds of wacky religious groups in the US. They were “persecuted” because they pulled this shit everywhere they tried to settle. That and the fact that Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and the other “leaders” never met a woman — married or not — that they didn’t want to screw.

  36. Mighty says:

    Their bigotry blinds and muffles their ears. They won’t stop because bigotry is all they know.

  37. Hue-Man says:

    You mean like “Latter Days”? IMDB rates it 7.2/10.

    “A promiscuous gay party animal falls for a young Mormon missionary, leading to crisis, cliché, and catastrophe.”

  38. The_Fixer says:

    I think this is a bump in the road for us, but it is designed in the end to say “We gave you every opportunity as a matter of judicial fairness” and that the ruling will go against the State of Utah.

    Given the history on the issues as they have been already decided, I think ultimately, the state of Utah will lose.

  39. GlennF says:

    Yep, the supposedly liberal Obama appointee Sonia Sotomayor.

    Sotomayor also just recently halted contraception coverage in Obama’s new health reform law.

    Looks like Sotomayor is really not a progressive as advertised. Surprise, surprise.

  40. BlueIdaho says:

    Idaho has sadly ruled that gay couples who have been legally married in another state must still file separate state income tax returns.

  41. BlueIdaho says:

    Yep there was even a deranged guy in Utah (not sure if he is mormon or not) on a hunger strike since December 20th, determined not to eat until the courts reinstated the ban against gay marriage. However, as of today he has requested pizzas from his followers. I suppose he thinks he has won.

  42. dcinsider says:

    Can we go back to talking about Aaron Schock?

  43. dcinsider says:

    Total agreement here. Nailed it.

  44. FLL says:

    I think the Supreme Court justices understand that the 10th Circuit Court will uphold marriage equality. I do think the Supreme Court justices are super-sensitive or paranoid about anyone blaming them for jumping the gun and hastily allowing more same-sex marriages before the 10th Circuit Court has a chance to rule (fast-track, I think). The real question is whether the Supreme Court will take the case when Utah appeals the probable equality victory from 10th Circuit Court. I don’t think the Supreme Court will take the case. I think they want to wait at least until after the ballot initiatives concerning marriage equality in the November, 2014 elections. My guess is that the Supreme Court will choose the Virginia case, the one that Ted Olson and David Boies are working on (Loving v. Virginia redux).

  45. ComradeRutherford says:

    Because “Equality Under The Law” doesn’t apply to those awful fa– I mean, gays!

  46. dcinsider says:

    It’s not unusual for a court to issue a stay under the circumstances, even when the stay is not really justified. In this case, Utah F’upped and did not ask the district court judge to issue a stay on his ruling before he ruled. They ignore him, go to the 10th circuit, who basically say, “go ask the trial judge.” So they got back and ask the trial judge, who, by this time, observes that weddings are taking place, and says no. The back tot he 10th circuit who say no, basically because Utah’s lawyers are incompetent. The off to SCOTUS who say yes, largely, I believe, to preserve their right to review the case on its legal merits when it reached them, without an intervening finding of likelihood of success on the merits.

    I think the stay means nothing about how SCOTUS will decide this case in the future.

  47. HereinDC says:

    Seeing, “blow” and “Arron Schock” in the same thought makes me deliriously happy.

  48. LanceThruster says:

    “This is what I say to the most conservative person that’s so terrified of gay marriage becoming legal: Just because the state says it’s legal, it’s not like God’s gonna let them into heaven?! You can still sleep sound every night, knowing that goal line defense is up at the pearly gates going, “You’re not getting in here, f4ggot“ ~ Daniel Tosh

    PS – Before anyone gets upset about his terminology, understand that he was parodying the haters who think God shares their hatred of gays.

  49. HereinDC says:

    Shouldn’t the Mormons be going after the Cathloics?
    Catholics have their marriages “undone” so they can marry another person.
    Wouldn’t the mormons be were looking out “for the best interest of catholic people” if they didn’t allow Catholics to marry?

  50. heimaey says:

    Did they reinstate polygamous marriages? Because if so that would be the best slap in the face possible.

  51. cole3244 says:

    america the beautiful, one step forward two steps back.

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  53. AnitaMann says:

    Does this mean the hunger strike guy will start eating now? Hope he sticks it out to the bitter end.

  54. nicho says:

    So glad we fell for the “It’s the Supreme Court, stupid” argument when we were pressured into voting for Barry. That worked out well. It was a “liberal” justice who is making people’s miserable. That makes it so much better.

  55. Thom Allen says:

    This makes Aaron Schock deliriously happy.
    1. It may be a blow to same-sex marriage.
    2. He’s hoping it will take the heat off of him for a while.

  56. Monoceros Forth says:

    Maybe the Latter-Day Saints are afraid they’ll start losing missionaries? When you send pairs of clean-cut young men out together to preach the gospel of Joseph Smith the last thing you want is for them to decide to chuck it all and get married instead. I’d call that “harm”.

  57. basenjilover says:

    Fricking sick and tired of Mormons!

  58. BeccaM says:

    Unless or until the marriages are invalidated, yes, they should be able to enjoy all of the Federally guaranteed marriage benefits.

    Thing is, gay and lesbian couples living in states that don’t extend marriage equality rights have access to quite a few Federal-level marriage benefits — including according to the IRS, the right to file a joint tax return.

  59. BeccaM says:

    First, it’s ‘Utahns’. Kinda weird, but there it is.

    Secondly, the parallels with the California situation are unavoidable, even if the match isn’t exact. As with Prop 8, then as now, Mormons (and other social conservatives) are trying to invalidate legally enacted marriages, apparently defining their religious freedom as the right to force everybody — non-believers included — to live by the Mormons’ arbitrary and far from universal rules.

    If the marriages recently performed are upheld, there will then be a pool of Utahns with marriages and those who are denied the right. But where it all diverges is this: With Section 3 of DOMA overturned and the Federal government now recognizing any legal same sex marriage, the harm of denying it is no longer at all vague or intangible. There are 1100+ rights and privileges under Federal law, including most recently Social Security survivor benefits.

    Thus even if the recent marriages are turned back, the tangible harm versus hurting Mormon fee-fees situation remains.

  60. Monoceros Forth says:

    Oi! Harm to unicorns is very serious offence.

  61. Mike in Houston says:

    John —
    In the interim, these legally married in Utah couples will be able to file joint Federal tax returns (does Utah have a state income tax? another wrinkle)… which has got to be a problem when arguing actual harm (versus the sparkling unicorn magical underwear kind).

  62. AnitaMann says:

    Nevermind, it’s the circuit court of appeals. Anyone want to speculate on what they might do? I still don’t understand this argument that someone will be hurt if marriages continue while the appeals process proceeds. Who? The bigots?

  63. AnitaMann says:

    Damn. Pending appeal to what court? SCOTUS? Didn’t a federal circuit circuit court rule on this?

  64. leathersmith says:

    half my family are Mormon. I hate them so…………..

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