Utah asked the Supreme Court for an emergency stay to uphold its 2004 ban on same-sex marriage Tuesday, following a Dec. 20 U.S. District Court decision to strike down a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman.
“That states have a powerful interest in controlling the definition of marriage within their borders is indisputable,” the filing reads.
Utah filed the request with Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who “handles emergency requests from Utah and other Rocky Mountain states,” The Associated Press reports. “She can act by herself or get the rest of the court involved.”
Utah Constitutional Amendment 3 passed in 2004 with 66 percent of voters. The amendment reads, “1) Marriage consists only of the legal union between a man and a woman. 2) No other domestic union, however denominated, may be recognized as a marriage or given the same or substantially equivalent legal effect.”
It was struck down two weeks by Judge Robert J. Shelby, who ruled that the amendment violated the U.S. Constitution’s Due Process and Equal Protection clauses. Since Shelby’s ruling, more than 900 same-sex couples have successfully received marriage licenses, the AP reports.
Utah’s charge against the ruling is led by Attorney General Sean Reyes, who was sworn into office Monday — just 10 days after Shelby’s decision. He announced the state’s decision to ask for a stay just five minutes after he was sworn in, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.
This is the fifth time Utah has attempted to derail Shelby’s decision, the Tribune reports: “The state made three requests to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and one request to Shelby, which were all turned down.”