I said that they would not be able to get a stay on the ruling. I was wrong, but the ruling was upheld on appeal. However, earlier this week the US Supreme Court (USSC) rejected Utah's application for a further appeal. As a result, Utah's gay marriage ban is dead and buried.
At the same time, it also threw out similar appeals by Oklahoma (which is also affected by the Utah ruling), Virginia and Wisconsin.
Based on how appeals work in the US, the USSC's actions (or rather its lack of action) has a much bigger impact than to simply kill off those States' bans: the appeals were from various regional courts, which also cover other neighbouring states, such as Colorado and North Carolina, whose bans have also now been overturned. Its ruling has also lead to another regional court scrapping similar bans in Nevada and Idaho.
Given the regional courts' jurisdiction, it is pretty certain that bans in states such as Montana, Arizona and Wyoming will also fall, whether by a further court ruling, or by the States themselves deciding it would be pointless to try and defend them.
The main issue now is what impact the USSC's ruling with have on other regional courts that aren't directly bound by their decision. States whose bans are currently being challenged in these other courts include Michigan and Texas, both of which were overturned in separate regional courts, but those rulings are stayed pending an appeal.
Given the USSC's rejection of an appeal request, those courts - and the States - have two choices:
- Take a hint that the USSC is no longer interested in letting States stop gay couples from getting hitched. This would also impact the other States which the regional courts cover, such as Louisiana (Texas) or Tennessee (Michigan); or
- Come up with some sort of reasoning to try and justify the ban. Given that it would conflict with the other regional rulings, this would almost certainly be appealed to the USSC, and would be heard. As the USSC has effectively said it is happy for the bans to be scrapped - if it was unhappy it would have allowed at least one State to be heard - it is likely that it would rule against the States. This would automatically have the same impact of Loving v Virginia (which scrapped all US anti-miscegenation laws), and, depending upon how such a ruling would be phrased, may also lead to further laws against gay people generally being kicked-out, on anti-discrimination grounds.
It'll be interesting to see what will happen. I think that the courts will follow the USSC, instead of dragging out the process any longer.
PS. Forgot to say: I've found Utah's position all along to be hilarious - it's a State run by Mormons, but they want the courts to rule that "Marriage is 'One man, one woman'". Given their history, it shows a complete lack of self-awareness, or simply bad faith and dishonesty...
Update: Alaska's ban has gone too. Tweet