Lawyers for same-sex couples in Utah asked the U.S. Supreme
Court on Friday to reject the state's effort to block same-sex
More than 900 same-sex couples have gotten
married in Utah since U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby ruled the law
unconstitutional on Dec. 20.
Utah took its appeal to
the Supreme Court on Tuesday after it tried and failed to get the 10th
District Court to stay Shelby's decision.
response, attorney Peggy Tomsic said in Salt Lake City on Friday that
the state's bid for an emergency block on gay marriages should be turned
down because Utah has not demonstrated how the weddings are harming
anyone else. She said lawyers for same-sex couples have filed papers in
the case with the Supreme Court.
In appealing to
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Utah argued that Shelby had
created a new constitutional right for same-sex couples by ruling that
the state's ban violated federal guarantees of equal protection.
"Numerous same-sex marriages are now occurring every day in Utah," Utah lawyers asserted in its appeal to the high court.
"Each one is an affront not only to the interests of the state and its
citizens in being able to define marriage through ordinary democratic
channels, but also to this court's unique role as final arbiter."
repeatedly stressed that states "have a powerful interest in
controlling the definition of marriage within their borders is
indisputable" and noted that same-sex marriage is a recent innovation that is not "deeply rooted in the nation's history and tradition."
responding to the latter claim, the attorneys for the same-sex couples
argued, "When analyzing cases involving fundamental rights, this court
has not held that the contours of a fundamental right can be limited
based on who seeks to exercise it or on historical patterns of