On Monday, a District Judge ruled that Utah's ban against same sex marriage is invalid, despite state lawyers filing for a stay over the weekend. This decision means Utah remains the 18th state where gay couples can marry, along with the District of Columbia. However local conservatives won't let the constitution stop them from trying to halt gay marriage again.
Utah state lawyers have again turned to a Denver-based federal appeals court in their bid to put a stop to gay couples getting married, saying the state should not be required to abide by one judge's narrow view of a "new and fundamentally different definition of marriage."
Still, since the original ruling last Friday in which Judge Robert J. Shelby ended the state's gay marriage ban, hundreds of gay couples have gained marriage licenses — local Boy Scouts even came through the wildly long line with free pizza! — unsure of whether the ban would go back into effect. For now, those fears are quieted but things may change as soon as Christmas Eve.
"Until the final word has been spoken by this Court or the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of Utah's marriage laws, Utah should not be required to enforce Judge Shelby's view of a new and fundamentally different definition of marriage," the state said in a motion to the appeals court.
It is estimated that nearly two-thirds of Utah's 2.8 million residents are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Mormons dominate the state's legal and political circles. The Mormon church was also one of the leading forces behind California's short-lived ban on same-sex marriage.
It's clear that Utah's fight over same sex marriage will probably go on for months, or end today, who knows. Until then, may there be unrelenting lines for marriage licenses and free pizza!