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US: Utah must recognise 1,000 same-sex marriages performed before injunction

Joseph McCormick May 20, 2014
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A federal judge has ruled that the marriages of more than a thousand same-sex couples in the US state of Utah performed before a stay was issue to stop them from taking place, must be recognised by the state.

The 10th Circuit Appeals Court last month heard arguments from opponents of same-sex marriage,after Judge Robert Shelby struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage in December.

Attorney General Sean Reyes then sent an opinion to the state Governor’s office stating that marriages should only be recognised between one man and one woman.

US District Judge Dale A Kimball ruled on Monday that the state must actually recognise those marriages, noting right to property, inheritance, legal protection and “the custody and care of children”, as reasons for the recognition.

In doing so, Judge Kimball became the first federal judge to order a state to acknowledge all marriages performed after the ban was struck down.

In the 17 days that same-sex marriage was legal in the state, some 1,300 marriage licences were issued to gay and lesbian couples, and over a thousand of them solemnised their unions with a marriage ceremony.

“Although the state has a general interest in representing the wishes of its voters, that interest does not outweigh the harms [same-sex couples] face by having their constitutional rights violated,” Judge Kimball wrote.

“Governor Gary Herbert and Attorney General Sean Reyes shall immediately recognize the marriages by same-sex couples entered pursuant to Utah marriage licenses issued and solemnized between December 20, 2013, and January 6, 2014, and afford these same-sex marriages all the protections benefits and responsibilities given to all marriages under Utah law.”

The ruling will not take effect for 21 days, allowing the state to appeal, should it wish to. The Governor and Attorney General of Utah did not immediately indicate whether they would appeal.

More: America, Civil partnerships, equal marriage, gary herbert, gay marriage, gay wedding, lesbian marriage, lesbian wedding, marriage, marriage equality, ruling, same sex marriage, Same-sex wedding, sean reyes, US, USA, Utah, wedding

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