-- Read the 53-page Kitchen et al v Herbert court decision HERE.
Update December 22nd: On this date, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals denied Gov. Herbert's Emergency Motion for Temporary Stay of Judge Shelby's decision because it neither addressed nor satisfied the factors that must be established to be entitled to a stay pending an appeal. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the 10th Circuit Court couldn’t rule on a stay since Judge Shelby hadn’t acted on the same motion also before him. However, the denial is without prejudice, meaning the defendants-appellants can still file another motion for stay pending appeal if it complies with regulations. The state has now filed another motion for a stay to be heard by the full Circuit Court, and the full court is not expected to make that decision for at least a few months. Read the two-page court document HERE.
Update December 23rd: On this date, U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby denied Utah's request for a stay, saying that the state had only regurgitated the arguments he had already thrown out. Assistant attorney general Phil Lott said the lack of stay leaves Utah in chaos, and Acting Attorney General Brian Tarbet said the state would seek an emergency motion for a stay from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver forthwith, adding that the state would consider going to the U.S. Supreme Court if the 10th Circuit doesn't grant a stay.
After Utahns approved Amendment 3 in 2004, their verdict was incorporated as Article 1, Section 29 of the state constitution:
(1) Marriage consists only of the legal union between a man and a woman.
(2) No other domestic union, however denominated, may be recognized as a marriage or given the same or substantially equivalent legal effect.
The Litigants: Gay couple Derek Kitchen and Moudi Sbeity and lesbian couple Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge filed a lawsuit challenging the amendment in March 2013 after Salt Lake County denied them marriage licenses. Karen Archer and Kate Call, who were legally married in Iowa, joined the suit because Utah does not recognize their marriage as valid. Citing U.S. Supreme Court civil rights cases Brown v. Board of Education, which desegregated schools in the South, and Loving v. Virginia, which invalidated laws banning interracial marriage, as well as the Supreme Court decision gutting the Defense of Marriage ACT (DOMA), the plaintiffs contended that for the same reasons the Fifth Amendment prohibits the federal government from differentiating between same-sex and opposite-sex couples, the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits state governments from making this distinction. The State of Utah, with Gov. Gary Herbert, then-Attorney General John Swallow, and Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen, argued that that the federal government cannot intrude upon a state’s decision not to recognize same-sex marriage, meaning that it is up to each individual state to decide whether two persons of the same sex may occupy the same status and dignity as that of a man and woman in lawful marriage.
Summary of Initial Ruling: Judge Robert Shelby, who was appointed to the bench by Barack Obama, swallowed the plaintiffs arguments and said that the state of Utah provided no evidence that opposite-sex marriage would be adversely affected in any way by same-sex marriage, concluding that in the absence of such evidence, the state’s speculations are insufficient to justify the state’s refusal to dignify the family relationships of its gay and lesbian citizens. He added that the U.S. Constitution protects the plaintiffs’ fundamental rights, which include the right to marry and the right to have that marriage recognized by their government. Furthermore, Judge Shelby noted that any regulation adopted by a state, whether related to marriage or any other interest, must comply with the Constitution of the United States, and so he decided the issue was not who should define marriage, but the more narrow question of whether Utah’s current definition of marriage is permissible under the Constitution. Since Judge Shelby concluded that Utah's current law deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason, he ruled the law unconstitutional. By the way, the unofficial word is that Judge Shelby is not LDS.
The Upshot: Because of Judge Shelby's ruling, Utah is now, as of this post, officially the 18th state to have legal gay marriage. However, if the ruling is stayed, the ban will be reinstituted while the legal fight continues and no more marriage licenses will be issued. A plaintiff’s attorney said marriage licenses issued to that point will be valid, but the state said marriages would be declared invalid if its appeal succeeds.
Governor Gary Herbert issued the following statement:
“I am very disappointed an activist federal judge is attempting to override the will of the people of Utah. I am working with my legal counsel and the acting attorney general to determine the best course to defend traditional marriage within the borders of Utah”.
And the LDS Church weighed in with the following statement issued through spokesman Cody Craynor:
"The Church has been consistent in its support of traditional marriage while teaching that all people should be treated with respect. This ruling by a district court will work its way through the judicial process. We continue to believe that voters in Utah did the right thing by providing clear direction in the state constitution that marriage should be between a man and a woman and we are hopeful that this view will be validated by a higher court."
Although there's no indication that any pastor, priest or bishop would be forced to solemnize gay marriages as a result of this ruling, Utah House Majority Leader Brad Dee (R-Ogden) said he has served in positions as a mayor and LDS Church bishop where he had the authority to marry people and wondered if refusing to marry someone based on his deeply held religious beliefs would be considered discrimination. Undoubtedly that's coming next, but the Gay Mafia is smart enough to feed the sheep only spoonfuls of political correctness at a time.
Additional Reaction: Strong disapproval expressed on LDS Freedom Forum. But jdawg1012 read the four-hour transcript of the summary judgment hearing, and characterized the state's defense as a "joke". Denver Snuffer merely posted Alma 10:27, which states "And now behold, I say unto you, that the foundation of the destruction of this people is beginning to be laid by the unrighteousness of your lawyers and your judges."