Weber and Davis counties are noticeably absent from the "friend of the court" brief 16 Utah counties filed in federal court in support of the state's bid to shut down same-sex marriages.
Davis County Attorney Troy Rawlings said he refused to sign it, calling it a "political stunt" and the development process "asinine."
Gov. Gary Herbert and the Utah Attorney General's Office are appealing U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby's Dec. 20 ruling in Salt Lake City that the state's gay marriage ban was unconstitutional.
The friend of the court, or amicus curiae, papers were filed in Denver's 10th Circuit court of Appeals by Monday's deadline, along with a flurry of others.
Joining in just under the deadline included an amicus filed by 81 members of the Utah Legislature, and another filed by "The Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence and 27 Scholars of Federalism and Judicial Restraint," a public interest law firm based in Claremont, Cal.
The LDS Church joined with several religious groups to file an amicus brief backing the state's appeal. Among the two dozen amicus briefs filed, only one appeared to be supportive of gay marriage, the brief filed by "Parents and Friends of ex-Gays and Gays," filed by a West Virginia attorney.
The 30-page amicus filed for the 16 counties, including Box Elder, Cache and Utah counties, was written by BYU law professor Lynn Wardle and Juab County Attorney Jared Eldridge.
"The interests of the state of Utah, which the last time I checked included Davis County, are being represented by the Utah Attorney General's Office, and represented well," said Rawlings.
He said he refused to sign without seeing a copy of the brief first.
"We did not want to simply sign our name onto a document when we had no control whatsoever over the production and editing prior to it being filed," he said of the invite to join the brief from the Juab County Attorney's Office. "It would be like signing a blank check."
That process he called "asinine ... I wonder if those that signed off on it even read it."
For that reason the brief amounts to "a political stunt" and "chest-thumping," Rawlings said.
But not signing was not meant as "a philosophical statement one way or the other on the issue of same-sex marriage," he stressed.
"I have constituents that go both ways on this issue. Probably a vast majority support overturning Judge Shelby's decision. But I also have many that don't."
The Weber County Attorney's Office was apparently not invited to join in the amicus filing.
Dave Wilson, the deputy Weber County attorney who heads the civil division there that reviews all non-criminal matters, said the office never saw the brief.
"Participating would have been a policy decision for the County Commission to make," he said. "We might have signed it if we had, but we haven't seen it. But I think the issues are clearly laid out by the Attorney General's Office anyway."
The "amici," as the legal term goes for the "friends" filing the briefs, include a brief filed on behalf of 10 states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma and South Carolina.
Michigan filed independently, as did "Oklahomans for the Protection of Marriage."
"Any time you have a national issue, and it's hotly contested, it's not surprising to get that many amicus briefs," said Wilson.
Contact reporter Tim Gurrister at 801-625-4238, firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @tgurrister.