Utah refuses to recognise same-sex marriages

Wednesday 08 January 2014 20.41
Roughly 1,400 gay and lesbian couples have wed across the state since the ruling
Roughly 1,400 gay and lesbian couples have wed across the state since the ruling

The Utah governor’s office has said that for now the state will not recognise same-sex marriages that have been performed since a ban on gay unions was struck down.

A federal judge struck down the ban on gay unions in the state in a ruling that the US Supreme Court later put on hold.

"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," the statement said.  

Utah temporarily became the 18th US state to permit gay marriage when US District Judge Robert Shelby on 20 December sided with three same-sex couples in a lawsuit challenging a voter-passed amendment to the Utah constitution that defined marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman.

Roughly 1,400 gay and lesbian couples have wed across the state since the ruling.

The US Supreme Court issued a stay on Monday, pending appeal of the ruling, preventing new same-sex marriages from being performed in the state.

Following that decision, married same-sex couples who wed after Judge Shelby's decision expressed concern the state might not recognize their marriages as valid.

Judge Shelby's ruling had jolted many of Utah's 2.8 million residents, nearly two-thirds of whom are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which teaches that traditional marriage is an institution ordained by God.

Keywords: gay marriage, utah