Utah's Attorney General, Sean Reyes, has announced his office will appeal the 10th Circuit Court’s decision last month upholding marriage equality to the U.S. Supreme Court. That circuit decision found that any state ban on marriage equality violated the Fourteenth Amendment rights of same-sex couples to equal protection and due process. It was the first circuit ruling against marriage bans.
The state will not seek a full-court review by all 12 judges of the 10th Circuit Court, according to a statement from the attorney general’s office.
"To obtain clarity and resolution from the highest court, the Utah Attorney General’s Office will not seek en banc review of the Kitchen v. Herbert Tenth Circuit decision, but will file a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the United State Supreme Court in the coming weeks," a news release said. "Attorney General Sean Reyes has a sworn duty to defend the laws of our state. Utah’s Constitutional Amendment 3 is presumed to be constitutional unless the highest court deems otherwise."
The 10th circuit ruling was immediately stayed, pending an appeal, but the ruling against the marriage ban could be cited for any future ruling within the 10th circuit.
SCOTUSBlog, via Twitter, laid out a possible scenario for the coming months:
Corrected: SCOTUS will act on the Utah #ssm petition by late-2014, likely grant it, hear argument in March 2015, and rule (5-4) in June 2015
— SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) July 9, 2014
But the Associated Press noted that the Supreme Court could wait for another circuit ruling before taking the case.
The Supreme Court is under no obligation to hear the appeal, and there is no deadline to make a decision, said William Eskridge, a law professor at Yale University. The three-judge 10th Circuit panel put its June 25 ruling on hold pending an appeal.
The Utah case is certain to pique the Supreme Court's interest, but the justices usually look for cases that involve split rulings from federal appeals courts, said Douglas NeJaime, a University of California-Irvine law professor. The court may wait and take up the matter after one or more of the five other appeals courts with pending gay marriage cases has ruled.
This story is ongoing. Visit www.glaad.org/marriage for more information about marriage equality around the country.