Utah Has To Honor 1,300 Same-Sex Marriages

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Utah must recognize the marriages of over 1,300 same-sex couples performed in the 17-day window between a federal judge overruling the state's same-sex marriage ban and the U.S. Supreme Court staying his decision, a federal judge ruled today.

On December 20, 2013, Utah's same-sex marriage ban was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge, making same-sex marriage legal effective immediately. On January 6, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay on that decision, and same-sex marriage was illegal again (for now). Utah then decided that it would not recognize the marriages performed in that window (the federal government does).

That led to today's decision (in full here). A Judge Dale Kimball ruled that Utah cannot retroactively make those same-sex marriages illegal:

The State must demonstrate some state interest in divesting Plaintiffs of their already vested marriage rights. The State has failed to do so.

Kimball also ruled that the state would not get a stay of its decision pending an appeal, although: "the court grants the State a limited 21-day stay during which it
may pursue an emergency motion to stay with the Tenth Circuit."

So, in 21 days, those same-sex marriages will be recognized by the state as long as the 10th Circuit doesn't grant Utah a stay. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals is currently deciding whether or not to uphold the decision to overturn the ban. Today's ruling will have no bearing on that case, according to the AP, but it should affect last week's ruling by Utah's Supreme Court that put a stay on legally married same-sex couples' attempts to adopt children.


This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.