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Appeals court denies stay on same-sex marriage ruling pending hearing Monday

Published: Thursday, Dec. 26 2013 10:40 a.m. MST

Couples wait to get marriage licenses at the Salt Lake County clerk's office on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013, after the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver on Sunday denied a stay of a federal judge's ruling allowing for same-sex marriage in Utah pending a hearing Monday morning.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver on Sunday denied a stay of a federal judge's ruling allowing for same-sex marriage in Utah pending a hearing Monday morning.

"What happens tomorrow will be significant," said Betsy Shumaker, U.S. Court of Appeals clerk.

Shumaker said Judge Robert Shelby, who ruled Friday that Utah's Amendment 3 is unconstitutional, will hear a motion filed by the Utah Attorney General's Office to stay the ruling at 9 a.m. Monday.

Shumaker said the denial Sunday was made "without prejudice to renewal."

"(That means) there is a possibility, depending on what happens down the road procedurally and legally, that the state of Utah could file a renewal request for stay in the 10th Circuit," she said.

Utah is one of 33 states to have banned same-sex marriage either through its constitution or by statute. In 2004, 66 percent of Utahns approved Amendment 3 and its traditional definition of marriage.

Gov. Gary Herbert said in a letter issued to county clerks Friday that "it is important to me that the law as passed by the people of this state in defense of traditional marriage is upheld."

The governor said he will be working closely with the attorney general’s office to work through the confusion caused in county offices since Friday.

Meanwhile, two Utahns on separate sides of the issue created online petitions to rally support for their respective causes.

Bill Duncan, director of the Utah-based nonprofit Marriage Law Foundation, said he created the Sutherland Institute petition to provide a place for Utahns to show their support for traditional marriage.

“When a judge rules that 66 percent of the voters in 2004 were irrational to approve the law they did, we want to push back,” Duncan said. “No we’re not irrational. We don’t hate anyone. We just understand marriage differently, and we think that’s a valid viewpoint in the public square.“

By signing the petition, Duncan said Utahns are expressing their right to decide on Amendment 3 and that they believe marriage is the “bringing together a man and woman," and it is "really ideal for society.”

Duncan said he is pleased with the response and will decide what action to take after the hearings. The number of signatures on the Sutherland Institute petition was not available Sunday.

Tim Wagner, the creator of the MoveOn.org petition, said he started the petition to support Shelby's decision after seeing the Sutherland Institute's online efforts.

As of Sunday night, that petition had more than 32,000 signatures.

“It says to me that a lot of people really care deeply about this issue,” Wagner said of the quick response and signatures.

“If the state is going to get involved in some type of legislative or governing social policy, we should be doing it under the umbrella of love and understanding and not hatred and bigotry. That’s what (the petition) says to me,” he said.

Email: eeagar@deseretnews.com

Twitter: EmileeEagar

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