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State Weighing Next Move in Same Sex Marriage Battle

Brian Turner via Wikimedia Commons

It’s unclear how soon the Utah Attorney General’s office will appeal the 10th Circuit ruling that upholds same sex marriage in the state. But lawyers for the state have a strict deadline to decide whether they want the entire 10th Circuit court to review the case. 

Gay marriage is still illegal in the state. The three judge panel on the 10th Circuit court stayed their own decision, pending Utah’s anticipated appeal to the Supreme Court. The state has already taken preliminary steps in that process.  But the Attorney General has the option to ask all of the judges on the 10th Circuit to review the case. This so-called en banc hearing could slow things down. Utah Governor Gary Herbert told reporters Thursday morning at his monthly televised news conference there is a lot of anxiety and confusion surrounding the 10th Circuit’s decision.

“And so from my perspective the sooner we can get to the Supreme Court the better,” Herbert says. “There needs to be some analysis and I’m not the legal expert here as far as the process or the arguments but, for me personally, I would like to get to the Supreme Court as soon as possible.”

Missy Larsen is a spokeswoman for the Attorney General. She told KUER that the state has only 15 days from Wednesday’s ruling to decide to pursue the en banc hearing.

At issue is whether the U.S. Constitution inherently affords rights to same-sex couples to marry and whether states have the right to define marriage. 

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