His insistence and subsequent refusal resulted in the immediate issuance of marriage licenses to many same-sex couples, which continued until today, when the Supreme Court unanimously issued an injunction, clearing the way for the case to be taken up by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The State of Utah's request went to Justice Sotomayor, who, wisely, I believe, did not grant the injunction all by herself, which she could have done, but sought the input of the other Supreme Court Justices. The stay was issued with none of the 9 justices dissenting. It reads as follows:
(ORDER LIST: 571 U.S.)Amendment 3 to the Utah State Constitution added Article 1 to Section 29 and states:
MONDAY, JANUARY 6, 2014
ORDER IN PENDING CASE
13A687 HERBERT, GOV. OF UT, ET AL. V. KITCHEN, DEREK, ET AL.
The application for stay presented to Justice Sotomayor and by her referred to the Court is granted. The permanent injunction issued by the United States District Court for the District of Utah, case No. 2:13-cv-217, on December 20, 2013, is stayed pending final disposition of the appeal by the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
1. Marriage consists only of the legal union between a man and a woman.The amendment was approved by essentially two-thirds (65.86%) of voters in the November 2004 general election.
2. No other domestic union, however denominated, may be recognized as a marriage or given the same or substantially equivalent legal effect
Whichever way the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals rules, the decision will almost certainly be appealed to the Supreme Court. It will then remain to be seen whether the Supreme Court will take up the case, or allow the lower court ruling to stand. It is difficult for me to imagine that a case with such huge constitutional implications will not be ruled on by the Supreme Court, but who knows? The nation's highest court has shown a great of reticence in taking up this incendiary issue, which has far-reaching implications for the state-of-the-union. Their ruling in United States vs. Windsor (see "Marriage in the U.S.: an opportunity for witness") was quite cautious.