SALT LAKE CITY – Governor Gary Herbert announced on Wednesday that the state will appeal a 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that invalidated Utah’s 2004 ban on same-sex marriage - directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Attorney General Sean Reyes issued a statement regarding the case, saying:
“To obtain clarity and resolution from the highest court, the Utah Attorney General’s Office will not seek en banc review of the Kitchen v. Herbert Tenth Circuit decision, but will file a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court in the coming weeks. Attorney General Reyes has a sworn duty to defend the laws of our state. Utah’s Constitutional Amendment 3 is presumed to be constitutional unless the highest court deems otherwise.”
Herbert’s Office also released a statement, saying:
“The governor's director of constituent services received the petition from Utah Unites at the Governor's Mansion this afternoon. We appreciate whenever citizens feel the need to appropriately express their opinions to their elected officials, which is why he hopes the case will go to the Supreme Court as soon as possible. The governor
feels all Utahns deserve clarity and finality on this issue.”
Herbert was traveling out of state when the petition was delivered.
Herbert and Reyes’ are bypassing the 10th Circuit, which upheld Judge Robert Shelby’s December ruling that struck down Utah’s Amendment 3.
The decision to sidestep the Federal Appeals court comes after Utah Unites for Marriage, a pro-same-sex marriage coalition delivered a petition with more than 3,800 signatures to the Governor’s Mansion at H Street and South Temple in Salt Lake City on Wednesday.
Reyes’ democratic opponent Charles Stormont also issued a statement, saying:
“This appeal is an enormous waste of money and we should be fighting to protect people’s rights, not to take them away. The state has no business dictating how people build their families, and the State should never tell children or their parents that they are second class citizens.”
Stormont previously told the Clipper that as Utah’s attorney general, he would not defend Amendment 3. He faces Reyes in the November elections.
More than 1,300 same-sex couples married during a 17-day stretch in Utah after Shelby’s summary judgment and before the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay on same-sex marriages until the matter could be settled in court. At least 150 same-sex couples obtained licenses in Davis County during the 17-day moratorium.
Utah's Amendment 3 was declared unconstitutional by U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby on Dec. 20, opening the way for same-ex couples to marry. Amendment 3 was passed into law in Nov. 2004, effectively banning gay marriage in Utah.