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State Legislator Questions Likelihood Supreme Court Will Hear Utah's Same-Sex Marriage Case

Brian Grimmett
File: Rep. Brian King, D-Salt Lake

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has not yet issued a ruling in the case against Utah’s law banning same-sex marriage, but state leaders have all indicated that whatever the outcome, they expect the loser will appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. But there are now some people who doubt the nation’s highest court would even hear the case.

When he’s not representing state house district 28, Rep. Brian King, D-Salt Lake, is an attorney. During a recent meeting at the State Capitol he used his knowledge of the legal system to question Utah Solicitor General Bridget Romano about the viability of the state’s case for banning same-sex marriage. He says he doubts the U.S. Supreme Court will be interested in an issue that so many federal courts all agree on.

“I realize they’re percolating up through the system," he says. "There may yet be a district court that rules in favor of the position that the state of Utah has taken. There may be a court of appeals that rules in favor of the position that the state of Utah has taken. But do you really think that the Supreme Court would take this case until and unless there is some court, somewhere, that rules in favor of the position that the state of Utah has taken. Because I don’t think so.”

Romano says while that is usually how the Supreme Court works, conflicting decisions at lower courts aren’t necessary for the court to take up a case. She says she expects the Supreme Court will want to have the final say on a question of such historic magnitude.

“I’m sure there are book makers and odd makers that are looking at every single case and deciding which state, which case, and what time is the Supreme Court going to weigh in, but I would be surprised if anybody says the Supreme Court is not going to,” she says.

Romano says she and others in the Attorney General’s office hope the Tenth Circuit Court will render a decision by the end of June so that they have a better chance for the Supreme Court to take up the case during their next session. 

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