Utah won't recognize existing same-sex marriages

Jan. 8, 2014 at 2:47 PM
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SALT LAKE CITY, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- Utah officials Wednesday said the state will not recognize same-sex marriages performed before the U.S. Supreme Court stayed a ruling permitting gay marriage.

Derek Miller, chief of staff to Gov. Gary Herbert, sent a letter to state agencies saying existing gay marriages that occurred in the state would be placed "on hold" while the state appealed the high court's stay of a district court judge's ruling overturning a ban on same-sex marriage, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

"Please understand this position is not intended to comment on the legal status of those same-sex marriages," the letter said. "That is for the courts to decide."

Gay marriages had been legally conducted in Utah since Dec. 20 when U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby overturned a ban on same-sex marriage. The U.S. Supreme Court granted the state's request for a stay of that ruling Jan 6.

In the intervening two weeks, some gay couples may have already received new state identification like driver licenses. The letter said they would not have to get new licenses but no new licenses would be issued to reflect new names of gay newlyweds.

"We acknowledge that this is a very difficult situation for many," Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes told the Tribune. "It was the reason our office sought the stay of the district court's decision immediately. We wanted to avoid the untenable situation in which many of our citizens find themselves."

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