Utah AG’s Office misses deadline in same-sex marriage case
Published: June 30, 2014 01:52PM
Updated: July 1, 2014 03:13PM
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Keith Johnson | Tribune File Photo Officiant Derek Snarr signs the marriage certificate of Jason Dautel, left and Micah Unice after they were married outside the Salt Lake County clerks office, Friday, December 20, 2013.

The Utah Attorney General’s Office failed to file preliminary documents in connection with its appeal of a federal court judge’s order that the state must honor and recognize all same-sex marriages performed in Utah after another federal judge’s ruling toppled Utah’s voter-approved ban on such marriages.

A “deficiency notice” filed Monday by the clerk of the 10th Circuit Court in Denver says that state attorneys failed to file a docketing statement, transcript order and notice of appearance in the same-sex recognition case.

“Please correct the stated deficiencies within 10 days of the date of this notice,” states a letter signed by Clerk of Court Elisabeth A. Shumaker.

The paperwork is due on July 10, according to the court docket.

Missy Larsen, spokesperson for the attorney general’s office, said Monday there were merely some attachments missing from the filing.

“It won’t affect the case,” she said, adding that the paperwork would be filed in the next few days.

In May, Judge Dale A. Kimball ordered Utah to honor and recognize all same-sex marriages performed in the state after fellow federal Judge Robert Shelby in December toppled Utah’s voter-approved ban on such marriages.

But less than a month after Kimball’s ruling, the state filed a notice in federal court that it would appeal Kimball’s order. And on June 6, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily halted any movement toward marriage recognition.

At that time, the federal appeals court issued an stopgap that would prevent any same-sex couples from applying for marriage benefits in Utah until the court has had a chance to examine the merits of the state’s request for a permanent stay.

Kimball argued in his decision that denying married gay and lesbian Utahns of legal spousal benefits was a violation of their Fourteenth Amendment rights.

More than 1,000 same-sex couples were married in Utah during the 17 days that Shelby’s ruling was in effect before the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay.

In connection with Shelby’s ruling, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals last Wednesday in a 2-1 decision upheld Shelby’s finding that outlawing same-sex marriage is a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

But the court immediately stayed the implementation of its decision, pending an anticipated appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Utah attorney general’s office has said it will initiate that appeal.