State considers options after appellate court rules in favor of same-sex marriage

- SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 Utah) – With all eyes on Utah the state is plotting its next move in the historic court battle over same-sex marriage.

It's the first time an appellate court has weighed in on the issue.

The 10th Circuit spoke loud and clear in telling Utah, Amendment 3 is unconstitutional.

That decision took up about half of Governor Gary Herbert's monthly news conference at KUED on Thursday.

"This is a big issue, not only on a social side, but also on a state's rights issue. This is not your average, every day lawsuit out there, so there are discretions, but this is one I think needs to be taken to it's conclusion," said Herbert.

The only way for that to happen is for the Supreme Court to take it up.

Many supporters say the writing is on the wall, with one federal court after another across the country ruling in favor of same-sex marriage.

The governor insists that is not reason to stop.

"We can speculate and suppose what the outcome will be, but we don't know. I expect if we get to the Supreme Court it will be a split decision again. How it will come down, who knows," said Herbert.

The state can either appeal straight to the highest court, or seek a review from the 10th Circuit.

That decision is in the works.

"We have 90 days, certainly we need to make that decision before then, but I don't know why we can't make that decision and come to an agreement on that in the next 30 to 45 days," said Herbert.

The governor says the state anticipated this going to the Supreme Court from the beginning, it's been budgeted for and the legal team is in place.

Herbert says it's his job and he would do the same if the tables were turned.

"If the law had been put on the books, by the people through the legislative process or initiative petition or however that said in Utah we would in fact allow same-sex marriage, I’d be defending that law today."

The 10th Circuit issued a stay, so no marriages can be performed in Utah.

Other states are trying to figure out what the ruling means for them.

In Colorado the Boulder County Clerk is issuing licenses to same-sex couples despite a stern warning from the state's attorney general it is still illegal.

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