Thursday, January 9, 2014

Utah AG: We Will Not Recognize Any Pre-Stay Gay Marriages

Early this week, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay on any new marriage licenses for same-sex couples in Utah. This was to allow Utah's Attorney General's Office time to file their appeal of the 12/20/13 federal court decision that struck down the state's gay marriage ban. Yesterday, Governor Gary Herbert's office sent out a letter to all state agencies instructing them to not recognize any same-sex marriages performed before the stay was issued:
Based on counsel from the Attorney General’s Office regarding the Supreme Court decision, state recognition of same-sex marital status is ON HOLD until further notice. Please understand this position is not intended to comment on the legal status of those same-sex marriages – that is for the courts to decide. The intent of this communication is to direct state agency compliance with current laws that prohibit the state from recognizing same-sex marriages.
Wherever individuals are in the process of availing themselves of state services related to same-sex marital status, that process is on hold and will stay exactly in that position until a final court decision is issued. For example, if a same-sex married couple previously changed their names on new drivers licenses, those licenses should not be revoked. If a same-sex couple seeks to change their names on drivers licenses now, the law does not allow the state agency to recognize the marriage therefore the new drivers licenses cannot be issued.
More recently, the ACLU of Utah has begun assembling plaintiffs and preparing a lawsuit to challenge the lack of recognition being offered to these 1,300+ new marriages.

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