By BRADY McCOMBS and PAUL FOY
2014-01-04 03:01 AM
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Lawyers for same-sex couples in Utah have filed papers with the U.S. Supreme Court explaining why gay marriage should be allowed to continue in the conservative state.
Attorney Peggy Tomsic says the state's request for an emergency block on gay marriages should be denied because Utah has not demonstrated how the weddings are harming anyone else.
The filing came Friday ahead of a noon deadline set by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who can act by herself or get the rest of the court involved. Sotomayor handles emergency requests from Utah and other Rocky Mountain states.
Utah state attorneys requested an immediate halt on the marriages this week. Attorneys said the more than 900 gay marriages that have occurred since a surprise Dec. 20 ruling by a federal judge are an affront to the state's interests.
A federal judge and the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals have already refused the state's request.
U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby's decision last month came as a shock to many in the heavily Mormon state, which approved the ban on same-sex marriage in 2004.
The decision came late on a Friday afternoon the week before Christmas and sent people rushing to get marriage licenses.
The judge's decision said banning gay couples from marrying violates their right to equal treatment under the law.
Utah state attorneys argue that children are best raised by a mother and father in a good relationship. They insist that states have the authority to define marriage as between a man and woman
Tomsic, who represents three gay and lesbian couples, said gay and lesbian couples also can be good parents.