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Utah Attorney General's Office Seeks 10-Day Delay In Marriage Appeal

A day after hiring new lawyers to help in its defense of the Utah marriage amendment, the attorney general's office requests a brief deadline extension for filing its appeal.

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WASHINGTON — The Utah attorney general's office has asked the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to give it an additional 10 days to submit its opening brief defending the state's amendment that bans the marriages of same-sex couples. The brief currently is due to be submitted to the court by Jan. 27.

The request comes a day after the Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes announced his office had hired a well-known D.C. lawyer, Gene Schaerr, to serve as outside counsel in the case challenging its marriage amendment.

When the court set the expedited briefing for the appeal of the case, it stated in the order, "Requests for extension of time are very strongly discouraged, and will be considered only under extraordinary circumstances."

The Attorney General's Office requested the extension so it could "complete a fulsome, detailed and quality brief" to present to the court.

The state asserts that "circumstances have changed significantly since the expedited schedule was set and a short extension is now warranted." Among the circumstances, according to the lawyers for the state, are the stay entered of the trial court's judgment in the case and the hiring of outside counsel — both of which were actions sought by the state.

The state also asserted that "the Court is considering extending each of the existing briefing deadlines by 2 or 3 days" and noted that a similar case — the marriage case out of Oklahoma — also could be appealed to the 10th Circuit and "the Court may want to place the Utah and Oklahoma appeals on similar briefing and argument tracks to conserve judicial resources and the resources of amici who will have the same interests in both matters."

Read the Utah AG's Office request:

Chris Geidner is a Supreme Court correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.

Contact Chris Geidner at

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