Utah To Pay $300K To Defend Gay Marriage Ban
SALT LAKE CITY - Utah will spend $300,000 to bring in a team of three outside attorneys to help defend the state’s same-sex marriage ban before a federal appeals court.
The Utah Attorney General’s Office announced Thursday it has chosen Gene Schaerr of a Washington, D.C., law firm to lead the legal team. Schaerr has handled dozens of cases before federal appeals court, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said in a news release.
Schaerr has agreed to charge the state $200,000, which officials characterized as a discounted rate. The state will pay attorneys John Bursch and Monte Neil Stewart $50,000 each to help out. Bursch is employed by a law firm in Michigan, while Stewart works for an Idaho firm.
The three out-of-state attorneys will get help from two lawyers at the Utah Attorney General’s Office.
Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, pledged to defend Utah’s same-sex marriage ban after a federal judge overturned it Dec. 20. Utah has appealed to the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Hundreds of couples married in Utah before the U.S. Supreme Court halted the weddings Jan. 6.