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Gay marriage supporters ask Sotomayor to reject Utah’s request for a ban


Laurie Wood, left, and Kody Partridge, embrace after being told they are officially married in the lobby of the Salt Lake County offices on Friday, Dec. 20, 2013, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/The Salt Lake Tribune, Scott Sommerdorf)

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor should ignore Utah’s request for a temporary ban on gay marriages, attorneys representing gay couples argued in a Friday morning filing.

“Forcing same-sex couples and their families to wait and hope for the best during the pendency of this appeal imposes an intolerable and dehumanizing burden that no family should have to endure,” James Magleby and Peggy Tomsic, attorneys at Magleyby and Greenwood argued in the filing.

On Dec. 20, a federal judge ruled Utah’s ban on same-sex marriages unconstitutional, opening the door for gay couples there to begin getting marriage licenses. The state’s request of a temporary ban while it appeals the ruling was denied by that judge and an appellate court. On Tuesday, it elevated the request to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

In Friday’s filing, the attorneys argue that Utah has not met the requirements for a stay of the lower-court’s ruling on the constitutionality of gay marriage. Specifically, they argue, the state fails to show that the appeals court was “demonstrably wrong” in denying the request of a temporary ban and that gay marriages are doing irreparable harm.

The ruling offered proponents of same-sex marriages hope that the movement may have reached a tipping point, with such unions being allowed in a conservative state dominated by the Mormon church, which believes that marriage should be limited to between a man and a woman. The church has notably shifted in its approach to homosexual attraction. Whereas being gay was once grounds for excommunication, it is now seen as something to be managed.

“Even though individuals do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them,” the official church Web site, mormonsandgays.org reads. “With love and understanding, the Church reaches out to all God’s children, including our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.”

Here’s the Friday filing asking Sotomayor to deny the state’s request for a temporary ban:

Opposition to Utah’s request that Justice Sotomayor temporarily ban same-sex marriages there.

Niraj Chokshi is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.

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