There was no recorded dissent in the Supreme Court’s order halting the marriages, but also no explanation of the court’s reasoning for granting the stay. It means that the appeals court’s expedited review of Shelby’s ruling will continue — briefs are due before the end of the month. Even if the lower court rules quickly, the Supreme Court would have to sense an emergency in order to take the case immediately.
It seems more likely that the justices want to hear from other courts — there are similar challenges to state same-sex marriage bans pending around the country. The court will likely have more judicial input if it delays the issue until the term that begins in October.
Another factor: when the five-justice majority in June struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, it paid some attention to the traditional role of states in defining marriage. To allow the marriages to continue in Utah on the basis of a single federal judge’s ruling would have appeared to disregard that concern.