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Jul 9, 2014

Utah Appeal Sends Marriage Case to Supreme Court

Salt Lake City, UT – The Utah Attorney General’s Office announced Wednesday that it will appeal the 10th Circuit Court’s decision last month upholding same-sex marriage to the U.S. Supreme Court. On June 25, the 10th Circuit Court ruled that states banning the freedom to marry are in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Reyes' statement. (via @BenWinslow)

In a statement, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said he would forego a full-court en banc review by all 12 judges of the 10th Circuit Court and instead be appealing the state's recent federal marriage equality ruling directly to the Supreme Court:

"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."

Once Utah's petition for a writ of certiorari is filed, the Supreme Court will decide whether or not to take up the Utah case. If granted, it would be the first case to reach the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of state marriage bans since the Justices in United States v. Windsor a year ago struck down a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act — a ruling that set off a series of decisions by federal and state trial courts, all of which so far have nullified state bans on same-sex marriages. The Tenth Circuit was the first federal appeals court to issue such a decision.

The news from Utah comes as Equality NC and observers across the Fourth Circuit, including Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia, await a ruling on the fate of Virginia's marriage ban.

If the Supreme Court refuses to hear the appeal, the 10th Circuit ruling in favor of marriage equality would then apply to seven states' bans on the freedom to marry (Utah, Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, and Wyoming.)

Reports from @SCOTUSblog hint that the Supreme Court will likely act on the petition by late 2014, with a hearing in 2015:

Click here for more about the fight for marriage equality in North Carolina.

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