Antigay State Officials Want to Dodge or Delay Marriage Lawsuits
BY Matt Baume
August 25 2014 2:10 PM ET
A federal judge scolded Indiana governor Mike Pence last week for his attempt to avoid participating in a marriage lawsuit. But Pence isn't the only state official trying to delay or avoid litigation.
Earlier this month, Arkansas officials asked the state Supreme Court to put a marriage lawsuit on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court has an opportunity to rule. If granted, the request would mean months of delays for the case.
In response, plaintiff couples fired back at the state last week, accusing it of imposing "irreparable injuries, continuing the deprivation of plaintiffs' constitutional rights" during the months — or possibly even years — of delay.
Circuit Judge Chris Piazza ruled in May that the Arkansas marriage ban is unconstitutional in the case Wright v. Arkansas. Officials immediately appealed the ruling to the state Supreme Court, and after some initial dispute over procedure and timing, the Supreme Court granted a temporary stay.
Meanwhile, officials in Utah have asked the Tenth Circuit to postpone the deadline for briefs in Evans v. Utah. That case concerns that recognition of licenses issued during the brief window when marriage was legal in the state. A lower court has already upheld those licenses, and the state appealed. The original deadline for opening briefs was September 22, but Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes wants an extension to October 22.
For their part, plaintiffs in the case oppose the request "because of the irreparable harm and extreme uncertainty the Plaintiffs face every day that the district court’s order remains stayed."
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