Couples oppose state request for more time to appeal gay marriage recognition ruling
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Attorneys for three couples in Utah's same-sex marriage recognition case oppose the state's request for more time to file its appeal in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a motion Tuesday, saying the state hasn't met the requirements to extend the deadline to Oct. 22.
"They have had since January of this year, when this case was filed, to deliberate about the issues presented here and have undoubtedly already done much of the required research and writing needed," wrote John Mejia, an ACLU of Utah attorney who represents the couples.
Mejia also contends there are families that face financial, emotional and dignitary harms each day the state refuses to recognize their marriages.
"These real concrete harms militate strongly against any further extensions in this case," he wrote.
U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball ruled in May that Utah must extend marital benefits to about 1,300 gay and lesbian couples who married during the short time same-sex marriage was legal in the state. But Kimball temporarily stayed his decision, and the U.S. Supreme Court extended the stay while Utah appealed to the 10th Circuit Court.
Last week, the Denver-based court set a Sept. 22 deadline for the state to appeal Kimball's ruling in the Evans v. Utah case.
Attorneys for the state argue that the case raises novel issues that are factually and legally complex. They also write that the petition in the original case challenging Utah's ban on same-sex marriage took more time than expected and that one of the attorneys on the Evans case has had filings due in other complex cases.
JoNell Evans and Stacia Ireland, Donald Johnson and Carl Fritz Shultz, Matthew Barraza and Tony Milner, and Elenor Heyborne and Marina Gomberg sued the state in an effort to have their marriages recognized. All were married in Utah between Dec. 20, 2013, and Jan. 6.
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