Marriages Begin Again For Same-sex Couples In Utah
Same-sex marriage is now legal in the state, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s announcement Monday that it would not be hearing appeals from five states, including Utah, that were seeking to keep their bans on same-sex marriage in place.
This decision means the lower court’s ruling that Utah’s ban on gay-marriage is unconstitutional will be upheld.
In a news conference Monday, Gov. Gary Herbert said he is disappointed in the decision. Herbert said he thought Utah citizens deserved the certainty and finality that only a Supreme Court decision could provide. Nonetheless, he said upholding the law is his first priority.
“While I continue to believe that the states do have the right to define marriage and create laws regarding marriage, ultimately we are a nation of laws, and we here in Utah will uphold the law,” Herbert said.
Attorney General Sean Reyes echoed the governor’s remarks, saying county attorneys and clerks had been told to recognize all legally preformed same-sex marriages and update paperwork to reflect the law.
Supporters of same-sex marriage were ecstatic with the announcement.
Andrew Romriell said the news that he and his partner could finally begin planning their wedding came as a surprise.
“It stunned me, it completely stunned me. I wasn’t expecting it to happen this morning, I wasn’t expecting it to happen for a while, and suddenly the possibility just started to make me bawl right there in my bed,” Romriell said.
Same-sex couples, including Adam Kennedy Smith Tripp, who had been married during the brief window when same-sex marriage was legalized in Dec. and Jan., were relieved to have their marriages recognized once again. He said the joy of his wedding day returned with Monday’s news.
“It once again shows that Judge Shelby’s ruling was the best possible ruling for the state that we are living in, and to have that come from a lower court and not have to be decided by the supreme shows that we are actively on the right track,” Tripp said.
Those against same-sex-marriage were upset with the Supreme Court’s decision. Senator Mike Lee said in a statement that “nothing in the constitution forbids a state from retaining the traditional definition of marriage.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said the decision would have no effect on the doctrinal position or practices of the church. Saying marriage between a man and a woman is the only kind of marriage acceptable to God, though church leaders encouraged followers to be people of good will towards all.
Herbert expressed a similar sentiment.
“This has been and will continue to be an emotional issue for many people, but let me encourage the people of Utah, regardless of your personal beliefs when it comes to the same sex marriage and this issue, please treat each one of us, each other, with respect and kindness,” Herbert said.
Same-sex marriage is now legal in 24 states.