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Utah asks Supreme Court to delay order requiring it to grant benefits to married gay couples


SALT LAKE CITY — Utah has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to extend a stay that's preventing more than 1,000 same-sex couples from getting state benefits.

Utah filed its appeal Wednesday, arguing that benefits should be delayed while the larger issue of the marriage ban makes its way through the courts.

Utah's same-sex marriage ban was struck down in December and many couples got married before the U.S. Supreme Court ordered a halt.

In May, a different federal judge ruled that Utah must grant benefits — such as child custody — to those couples, but the decision was put on hold.

Last week, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied Utah's request for an indefinite delay and gave Utah until July 21 to ask the Supreme Court to weigh in.

This case is separate from the ongoing judicial review of the constitutionality of the state's same-sex marriage ban. The 10th Circuit recently upheld the December opinion from a federal judge in Utah who overturned the ban. Utah state officials plan to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The gay and lesbian couples awaiting benefits tied the knot during the 17-day window when same-sex marriages were legal before the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay.

Utah officials argued they had no choice but to hold off on benefits until an appeals court ruled on same-sex marriage. That triggered a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of four couples.

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