Utah governor plans to appeal gay marriage ruling

Utah’s governor signaled Wednesday that his administration would appeal a ruling striking down his state’s gay marriage law to the Supreme Court.

“I am disappointed with the decision from the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in regards to same-sex marriage," Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) said in a statement. “I believe states have the right to determine their laws regarding marriage.

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“I am grateful the Court issued a stay to allow time to analyze the decision and our options,” he continued. “But as I have always said, all Utahns deserve clarity and finality regarding same-sex marriage and that will only come from the Supreme Court.” 

Herbert’s announcement came hours after the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s ruling finding the state's constitutional amendment, passed in 2004, violated the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution.

The state's attorney general's office confirmed in a statement that it would file a motion with the Supreme Court to hear the case. It also has the ability to ask all the judges on the 10th circuit to rehear the case. 

If the state chooses to ask for a rehearing and is denied, the Supreme Court would be the next option. 

"Although the Court’s 2-1 split decision does not favor the State, we are pleased that the ruling has been issued and takes us one step closer to reaching certainty and finality for all Utahns on such an important issue with a decision from the highest court," according to the statement from the office of Attorney General Sean Reyes.

It was the first time an appeals court has weighed in on the issue since the Supreme Court last year struck down parts of a federal law defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

Since that high court ruling, a number of states across the country have nullified laws banning gay marriage.

—Updated 3:20 p.m.