The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday granted a request from Utah to put legal recognition on hold for over a thousand same-sex marriages that were performed in the state during late December and early January.
Roughly 1,300 gay and lesbian couples received marriage licenses between Dec. 20, when a federal judge overturned the state's same-sex marriage ban, and Jan. 6, when the Supreme Court put that ruling on hold pending an appeal. Four of those couples sued the state, claiming that it improperly refused to recognize the validity of the marriage licenses that were granted during the interim period.
Lawyers for Utah argued that until the U.S. Supreme Court decides whether any state can ban same-sex marriage, "the democratically produced decisions of Utah's citizens should not be overturned based on the discretion of a single federal district judge unchecked by subsequent appellate review." The gay couples said they were complying with the law as it existed at the time, and the licenses should be recognized.
In a brief unsigned order issued late Friday, the Supreme Court said the legal status of the marriages performed in the interim would remain on hold while the issue is appealed.
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— Pete Williams