SALT LAKE CITY — The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver announced Tuesday it will grant Utah's request for an extension to file its appeal of a court ruling that overturned the state's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.

In an order filed by 10th Circuit Clerk Elisabeth Shumaker, the court extended the deadline — originally set for Monday — by seven days. Utah's opening brief must now be filed by Feb. 3.

The order said the extension also will impact other dates set by the 10th Circuit "by a corresponding amount." Shumaker said the response from the same-sex couples will be due Feb. 25, and any reply from the state must be filed by March 4.

U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby on Dec. 20 struck down Utah's Amendment 3, which defines marriage as being a union between a man and a woman. The state immediately filed a notice of appeal, and the 10th Circuit Court set forth the "expedited" schedule for the case.

Though Shumaker said at that time that "requests for extension of time are very strongly discouraged and will be considered only under extraordinary circumstances," Utah asked for a 10-day extension Friday.

The state pointed to the recent hiring of three new attorneys, as well as its desire to have time to complete a "fulsome, detailed and quality" brief on the constitutional questions of the case.

On Saturday, attorneys for gay couple Derek Kitchen and Moudi Sbeity, and lesbian couples Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge, and Karen Archer and Kate Call filed motion opposing the state's request. They argued that none of the requisite "extraordinary circumstances" existed and that the scheduling request was not as important as the "real and continuing harms" they were experiencing pending the appeal.


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