Utah Prepares to Fight Rulings on Gay Marriage, Polygamy; Federal Judges Had Struck Down 2 Laws in State
Byline: Valerie Richardson, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
It's more than a little ironic that Utah, which was forced to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman as a condition for statehood, has been thrust into the role of traditional marriage's champion by two pivotal cases involving same-sex couples and polygamy.
The Utah attorney general is expected to file the first follow-up to the Supreme Court's six-month-old decision striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The state will request a temporary hold on a federal judge's Dec. 20 ruling striking down the state's marriage law.
That request, which could be filed as early as Monday, follows four unsuccessful attempts last week to place a stay the ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby, who overturned the state's voter-approved amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
The legal wrangling arrives a week after another federal judge struck down part of Utah's anti-bigamy law, calling it a privacy violation and effectively nullifying the state's polygamy ban.
The two critical cases come at a particularly inconvenient time for Utah: A month ago, Attorney General John Swallow resigned amid a legislative probe into criminal charges. Gov. Gary Herbert has since named Republican Sean Reyes to the post, but Mr. Reyes has not yet been sworn in.
Still, there's little question that Utah, one of the nation's most socially conservative states, will fight to uphold what had been the marriage status quo since the state was admitted into the union in 1896.
My intention, when I am attorney general and sworn in, is to continue to defend the laws that have been passed by the people of Utah, said Mr. Reyes in an interview last week with KSTU-TV in Salt Lake City, the local Fox affiliate.
Hundreds of same-sex couples applied for and received Utah marriage licenses last week even as the attorney general's office was rejected in its efforts to obtain a stay, once by Mr. Shelby and three times by the 10th U. …