A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Utah governor directs Cabinet not to recognize same-sex marriages

The office of Utah Governor Gary Herbert [official profile] on Tuesday sent an e-mail to state Cabinet members, directing them to place legal recognition of same-sex marriages within the state on hold until further notice [press release]. This directive comes as a result of Monday's decision by the US Supreme Court [official website] to temporarily block [JURIST report] the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses in the state of Utah. The Utah Attorney General [official website] filed an application for stay [text, PDF] with the court last week to block same-sex marriages pending the state's appeal of a US district judge's December 20 decision [JURIST report] striking down the state's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage. Three similar applications to the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit [official website] have already been rejected [JURIST report]. Tuesday's directive by the governor's office also specifies that no further same-sex marriages are to be performed or given legal recognition within the state "pending final resolution by the courts."

Same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] has recently been a controversial issue in the US and internationally. On Monday four same-sex couples filed a class action lawsuit [JURIST report] in the US District Court for the District of Arizona, seeking to overturn the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. In December the US District Court for the District of Utah ruled that Utah's constitutional and statutory bans on same-sex marriage violated due process and equal protection guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. On the same day as the Utah court's judgment, the Uganda parliament passed a bill limiting the rights of same-sex couples and imposing a penalty of up to life imprisonment [JURIST report] for involvement in homosexual relationships. Earlier that week, New Mexico's high court ruled that it is unconstitutional [JURIST report] to deny same-sex couples the right to marry. The same week, the US executive branch announced that it would begin processing Social Security payments [JURIST report] to surviving couples in accordance with a US Supreme Court ruling [JURIST report] issued this past summer which struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) [text], a federal statute that defined marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman for all federal purposes and refused to recognize any other type of marriage.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.