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Possible outcomes from the appellate court
On Thursday, Judges Paul J. Kelly Jr., Carlos F. Lucero and Jerome A. Holmes took the issue of whether to affirm or reverse U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby's Dec. 20 decision to overturn Utah's ban on same-sex marriage under advisement.
It's unclear when they will make their ruling. There's no timeline, and the judges themselves did not give any indication during the hearing, although they have put the case on an expedited calendar.
What happens next depends largely on what the judges' ruling turns out to be. They could:
If the judges affirm Shelby's ruling, it will be the first federal appeals court to back the notion that same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marriage denied by laws like Utah's voter-approved Amendment 3. This will set a precedent for the approximately 60 cases pending in state and federal courts in 29 states and Puerto Rico.
Nine federal judges, including Shelby, have issued decisions in favor of the right of same-sex couples' access to civil marriage, which are now awaiting hearings before five appellate courts.
Reverse and remand »