All You Need to Know about the Same-Sex Marriage Battle in Utah

by Norris Law Group on April 15, 2014

the-us-will-recognize-same-sex-marriages-from-utah (1)On April 9, the Salt Lake Tribune published a “primer” explaining the current state of same-sex marriage legislation in Utah, one day before oral arguments are scheduled to be heard before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

Journalist Brooke Adams offers a “timeline” of events which led Utah to this point:

  1. On November 2, 2004, two out of Utah three voters approved Amendment 3, which defined marriage in Utah as being a union of one man and one woman.
  2. On March 25, 2013, three Utah same-sex couples filed a suit against the state in U.S. District Court on the grounds that Amendment 3 violated their rights to equal protection under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which would effectively make Amendment 3 unconstitutional.
  3. In December 2013, the U.S. District Court judge agreed with the three couples, and same-sex marriage became legal in Utah.
  4. Beginning on December 20, same-sex couples rushed to Utah courthouses to register for marriage licenses and marry in civil ceremonies. Some counties, including Utah County, refused to give licenses to same-sex couple, until Attorney General Sean Reyes order all counties to honor the judge’s ruling.
  5. Utah asked the district court judge to stay his own decision, but he refused. A request for a stay from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals also failed. But in January 2014, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor did grant a stay of the decision. Same-sex marriage had been legal in Utah for 17 days.
  6. While waiting for a final decision, Adams writes that same-sex couples in Utah “are in a kind of legal limbo.” After Judge Sotomayor’s stay, Utah placed the same-sex marriages “on hold” rather than fully recognize or refuse to recognize them. Same-sex marriage licenses were also put on hold, pending a decision from the 10th Circuit Court, and possibly the U.S. Supreme Court.

 Attorney Graham Norris and his associates at the Norris Law Group serve the residents of Utah County and throughout Utah in the area of divorce and family law. Contact them today at 801-932-1238 or online for a free consultation.

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