Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Utah Says It Will Not Recognize Same-Sex Marriage Performed During Federal Injunction

Whoa. The Chief of Staff of the Governor of Utah has sent a letter to all state agencies which says that it is directing all state agencies that recognition of same-sex marital status is "on hold" until the lawsuit in Kitchen v. Herbert is resolved.

This is a pretty extreme position to take, because those marriages were entered into when it was perfectly legal to do so because a federal judge had struck down Amendment 3 which banned same-sex marriage in Utah.
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. 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. 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 attorney for the lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Peggy Tomsic, has released a statement in response:
“This unprecedented and disappointing action harms not only my clients, but hundreds of other same-sex couples who also were legally married, and whose families have been needlessly destabilized and stripped of basic legal protection. By taking this unwarranted action, the State of Utah has discounted the lives of thousands of Utah citizens who live, work, and raise their families in Utah and pay Utah and federal taxes like all other Utah citizens. Regardless of how the State believes the Tenth Circuit will ultimately rule, these couples are legally married, and the State should treat them accordingly.”
There's no question that this will result in many more lawsuits, not less, about marriage equality in Utah.

Hat/tip to Joe.My.God

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin