Utah Won’t Recognize Same-Sex Marriage
Republican Utah Governor Gary Herbert's administration said Wednesday that the state will not recognize any same-sex marriage that took place before or after the Supreme Court's decision to put a hold on gay marriage, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.
Herbert's office sent a letter to all state agencies about the decision:
"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," the Derek Miller, chief of staff to Gov. Herbert, says in the release. "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," the statement continues. " 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."
The newspaper says the original laws banning marriage equality are currently back in place.
Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said the governor and his administration cannot reach a legal conclusion on the "ultimate validity" of same-sex marriage performed between Dec. 20 (when U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby ruled the ban gay marriage was unconstitutional) and Jan. 6 (when the Supreme Court granted the state a stay).
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has set an expedited briefing schedule for the appeal but a ruling could take weeks or even months.