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 at least left the impression that the Court was comfortable allowing same-sex marriages to go forward in the 33 states where they are still banned.
The Tenth Circuit of Appeals court has agreed to take up the issue on an expedited basis. State officials’ opening brief must be filed by Jan. 27. The response from attorneys for gay couples is due Feb. 18, and state officials have a chance to respond to that filing by Feb. 25.
We’re looking at months here, kids.