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UT Governor Puts Same-Sex Marriage Recognition "On Hold"

PHOTO: The state of Utah isn't recognizing the one-thousand same-sex marriages that took place following a federal judge's ruling overturning the state's same-sex marriage ban. Image courtesy CDC.
PHOTO: The state of Utah isn't recognizing the one-thousand same-sex marriages that took place following a federal judge's ruling overturning the state's same-sex marriage ban. Image courtesy CDC.
January 9, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - For now, the state of Utah will not recognize the 1,000 same-sex marriages that took place following a federal judge's ruling overturning the state's same-sex marriage ban. Gov. Gary Herbert's office released a statement Wednesday saying recognition of the marriages is "on hold" pending a court decision on the matter.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court approved the state's request to stop issuing marriage licenses while the matter is being litigated. Clifford Rosky, board chairman at Equality Utah and a law professor at the University of Utah, said the governor's action is another blow for marriage equality.

"These are couples who love each other and many of them are raising children together. And by refusing to recognize the validity of those marriages, the governor has left 1,000 families in limbo for months, if not years," Rosky said.

Last month, U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby overturned Amendment 3, which had amended the Utah state constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. The U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to consider the state's appeal to Shelby's ruling in coming weeks.

Rosky said the state's action renders same-sex couples ineligible for the many benefits afforded to married couples.

"Tax benefits, rights of inheritance, health insurance, the ability to adopt a child who they've raised together. It's a very long list of very basic rights," he pointed out.

Rosky said it could take a year or more for this issue to be resolved in court. Amendment 3 was approved in 2004 with 66 percent voter support.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - UT