Utah sued by civil liberties group over refusal to recognise same-sex marriages
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), in Utah will today file a against the state because it refused to recognise same-sex marriages after a federal court ruling.
Between 20 December and 6 January, some 1,300 couples married in the state as a US District Judge ruled that a ban on same-sex marriage violated the state’s constitution.
The US Supreme Court since put a stay on equal marriage in the US state, forbidding same-sex couples from being issued with marriage licences in the state during an appeal against a ruling to allow them.
The ACLU argues that the state should recognise the marriages regardless of the ruling.
The Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes advised Governor Gary Herbert that marriages between gay couples who married in that short period should not be recognised by the state for benefits purposes.
US Attorney General Eric Holder has since responded to calls to say Utah married same-sex couples would be treated as married by the federal government, despite a directive from the state Governor that they would not.
The ACLU will on Tuesday announce the lawsuit against the state.
Legal director John Mejia argues that the marriages are valid in the state, no matter what the outcome of a federal court ruling.
On 8 January, the same day that Governor Gary Herbert issued the directive not to recognise the marriages, the civil liberties group began looking for plaintiffs.
The Utah State Tax Commission made the announcement on Thursday that same-sex married couples married in Utah or elsewhere, would be able to file joint tax returns in the state, as did the state of Massachusetts.