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ACLU Opposes Extension of Utah's Same-Sex Marriage Appeal Deadline

Photo courtesy ACLU of Utah
ACLU of Utah staff and volunteers march in the Utah Pride Parade.

The Utah Attorney General’s Office is asking for more time to file its opening briefs in the case involving same-sex marriage recognition, but the ACLU opposes the extension.

A U.S. District Judge ruled in May that Utah must extend marital benefits to about 1300 same sex couples who married last winter during the short time such marriages were legal in the state.  But the decision was stayed while Utah appealed to the 10th Circuit Court. Last week, the Denver court set a September 22nd deadline for the state to appeal the ruling. In a motion filed Monday, the state asked for a one-month extension to file its opening briefs. The state argues in the filing that the grounds for the motion are complex and that other cases are occupying the primary counsel’s time.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah filed the lawsuit against the state on behalf of four gay couples. John Mejia, Legal Director of the Utah ACLU, says he opposes the extension.

“We feel that any further delay in this case even of a month is harmful to our clients,” Mejia says. “These families suffer every day that their marriages aren’t recognized and need clarity as soon as possible to resolve this issue for them.”

Meanwhile, two statewide surveys were released this week indicating mixed feelings about LGBT rights in Utah.  One survey sponsored by Zions Bank and shows that a majority of Utahns oppose same-sex marriage. Another survey conducted by the same group shows a majority also favor a statewide law banning employment and housing discrimination based on sexual preference.

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