Utah is preparing to ask the Supreme Court to block a ruling by a federal judge in Salt Lake City that declared the state’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, the Utah attorney general’s office said.
The Utah Attorney General’s office said it’s coordinating with outside lawyers to file the appeal, following Utah’s failure on Dec. 24 to persuade the U.S. Court of Appeals in Denver to grant an emergency request to block the Dec. 20 ruling by District Judge Robert Shelby.
"The filing of the appeal may be delayed for a few days," according to a statement on the office website. "It is the intent of the Attorney General's Office to file with the Supreme Court as soon as possible."
Seventeen other states and the District of Columbia have now legalized gay marriage. New Mexico, the only state without a law specifically allowing or prohibiting gay marriage, was barred by its highest court on Dec. 19 from denying same-sex couples the right to marry.
"Utah’s prohibition on same-sex marriage conflicts with the United States Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and due process under the law," Shelby wrote in his Dec. 20 opinion. The judge, 43, was appointed in 2011 by President Barack Obama, a Democrat, and was confirmed last year.
Neither Ryan Bruckman, a spokesman for the Utah attorney general's office, nor John Mejia, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union in Utah, immediately responded to phone calls seeking comment on today's filing.
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