The Supreme Court on Monday morning put on hold a federal judge’s decision striking down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage, thus stopping a wave of such marriages across the state. The Court’s order reinstates the state ban and will keep it intact until after a federal appeals court has ruled on it.
The order appeared to have the support of the full Court, since there were no noted dissents. The ruling can be interpreted as an indication that the Court wants to have further exploration in lower courts of the basic constitutional question of state power to limit marriage to a man and a woman. Had it refused the state’s request for delay, that would have left at least the impression that the Court was comfortable allowing same-sex marriages to go forward in the thirty-three states where they are still not permitted by state law.
The order, however, cannot be interpreted as a dependable indication of how the Court will rule on the issue when it finally decides to do so directly.
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(Lyle Denniston, Court stops Utah gay marriages, SCOTUSblog [Jan. 6, 2014, 10:34 AM], http://www.scotusblog.com/2014/01/court-stops-utah-gay-marriages/)