The Washington Post

Utah puts same-sex marriages on hold pending appeal


Paul Redd-Butterfield, 2nd from left, and his husband Tony Butterfield cook dinner with their adopted 11-year-old twin sons Lucas, left, and Liam. Paul and Tony were legally married on Dec. 23, but the Utah Governor's office has stated it will not recognize same-sex marriages. (JIM URQUHART/REUTERS)

Utah will not recognize, at least for now, the marriages of couples who rushed to wed after a federal judge’s ruling briefly rendered same-sex unions legal in the conservative, predominantly Mormon state, the governor’s office said Wednesday.

The state’s decision comes as a blow to roughly 1,400 same-sex couples who legally tied the knot after U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby ruled Dec. 20 that a state ban on gay marriage violated the U.S. Constitution. His ruling was later put on hold by the U.S. Supreme Court pending an appeal.

“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,” Gov. Gary Herbert’s chief of staff said in a message posted to state officials on the Web site of the Republican governor.

Utah temporarily became the 18th state to permit gay marriage when Shelby ruled for three same-sex couples in a lawsuit challenging a voter-passed amendment to Utah’s constitution that defined marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay Monday, pending appeal of the ruling, that prevents same-sex marriages from being performed in Utah. Same-sex couples who were wed after Shelby’s ruling then expressed concern that the state might not recognize their marriages as valid.

Should Utah prevail before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver, that court would probably have to decide whether to invalidate the marriages that have occurred over the 18 days since the intitial ruling.

The appeals court has agreed to hear the Utah case on an expedited schedule, with a Feb. 25 deadline for court papers.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah, which supports the effort to bring gay marriage to the state, expressed disappointment in Utah’s decision not to recognize the weddings performed in recent weeks.

University of Utah law professor Clifford Rosky said the state’s decision could leave gay couples and their families in limbo for months, if not years, by interrupting applications for health insurance or retirement benefits for state employees and halting adoption petitions of some families.

Salt Lake City couple Paul and Tony Butterfield married in California in 2008, but their union was not recognized in Utah, and on Dec. 23 they wed again in that state.

“For the governor to just overturn a court-mandated judgment just blows my mind,” said Paul Butterfield, who is raising 11-year-old twin boys with his partner of 18 years.

Shelby’s ruling jolted many of Utah’s 2.8 million residents, nearly two-thirds of whom are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which teaches that traditional marriage is an institution ordained by God.

The governor’s office, in explaining how the state would handle the existing marriages, said state agencies should follow “current laws that prohibit the state from recognizing same-sex marriages.”

So, for example, if a married same-sex couple in Utah had already changed their names on their driver’s licenses, the changes would not be revoked — but such couples would not be able to apply to change their names on state-issued identification.

— Reuters

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
Republicans debated Saturday night. The South Carolina GOP primary and the Nevada Democratic caucuses are next on Feb. 20. Get caught up on the race.
The Post's Dan Balz says...
Rarely has the division between Trump and party elites been more apparent. Trump trashed one of the most revered families in Republican politics and made a bet that standing his ground is better than backing down. Drawing boos from the audience, Trump did not flinch. But whether he will be punished or rewarded by voters was the unanswerable question.
GOP candidates react to Justice Scalia's death
Quoted
I don't know how he knows what I said on Univision because he doesn't speak Spanish.
Sen. Marco Rubio, attacking Sen. Ted Cruz in Saturday night's very heated GOP debate in South Carolina. Soon after, Cruz went on a tirade in Spanish.
The Fix asks The State's political reporter where the most important region of the state is.
The State's Andy Shain says he could talk about Charleston, which represents a little bit of everything the state has to offer from evangelicals to libertarians, and where Ted Cruz is raising more money than anywhere else. In a twist, Marco Rubio is drawing strong financial support from more socially conservative Upstate. That said, Donald Trump is bursting all the conventional wisdom in the state. So maybe the better answer to this question is, "Wherever Trump is."
Past South Carolina GOP primary winners
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the first state in the South to vote, where he faces rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 33%
The complicated upcoming voting schedule
Feb. 20

Democrats caucus in Nevada; Republicans hold a primary in South Carolina.

Feb. 23

Republicans caucus in Nevada.

Feb. 27

Democrats hold a primary in South Carolina.

Upcoming debates
Feb 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

March 3: GOP debate

on Fox News, in Detroit, Mich.

March 6: Democratic debate

on CNN, in Flint, Mich.

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.