With the Utah Attorney General's Office facing a possible delay in its application to request a stay of the U.S. District Court's ruling on same-sex marriage in Utah, it appears marriage licenses will continue to be issued for same-sex couples in Summit County for the foreseeable future.
As of Thursday, the Summit County Clerk's Office in Coalville had issued 38 same-sex marriage licenses, according to Chief Deputy Clerk Ryan Cowley. The licenses began to be issued Monday morning after U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby's ruling that Utah's ban on same-sex marriages was in violation of the due process and equal protection clauses of the Constitution.
The Attorney General's Office released the following statement on Thursday:
"The Attorney General's Office is preparing an application to the United States Supreme Court requesting a stay of the district court's order. Due to the necessity of coordination with outside counsel the filing of the appeal may be delayed for a few days. It is the intent of the Attorney General's Office to file with the Supreme Court as soon as possible."
When asked if he thought same-sex marriage licenses would continue to be issued, Cowley said, "In my non-professional opinion, I think [they] will. [The appeal] is the only chance of stopping it any time in the near future."
Cowley added that the Clerk's Office has not received any comments of any kind from the public or outside groups regarding their issuing of the licenses.
On Thursday, the Associated Press reported that officials from the four Utah counties that had refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses Box Elder, Utah, Piute and San Juan have agreed to begin issuing the licenses after the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the Attorney General's Office's request for a stay on the ruling.
Summit County Council member Dave Ure, a Republican, was one of two Council members who was not present at the County Courthouse on Monday when the initial same-sex marriages were being issued. Chris Robinson, a Democrat, was absent in order to recover from shoulder surgery.
When asked his opinion on the Clerk's Office issuing the licenses, Ure reiterated the Council's role as a legislative body with no powers of enforcement on the issue.
"As a Council person, I don't have an opinion on that," Ure said. "After the second petition to stay, the action was denied by the judge. I don't believe [County Clerk] Kent Jones had any choice but to issue the licenses."
County Council chair Claudia McMullin said being at the Clerk's Office Monday morning was the "greatest day" of her career. She said the atmosphere at the office before the Attorney General's Office's request for a stay was denied was a mixture of "anxiety, excitement and love."
"After the stay was denied, it was just excitement," McMullin said. "It was so touching to see the marriages. Every time someone would get their license, I'd ring a bell."
Until the Attorney General's Office's appeal is accepted by the Supreme Court, Cowley said he expects same-sex marriage licenses to continue to be issued in Summit County and throughout the state.
For questions regarding same-sex marriage licenses, the Summit County Clerk's Office, located inside the County Courthouse at 60 N. Main Street in Coalville, can be reached at 435-336-3204.