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Update: Same-sex couples marry in Farmington
Dec 23, 2013 | 1809 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BROOKE BULKELEY and Barb Sterns (right) sign their marriage certificate at the Davis County offices in December 2013. Photo by Jenniffer Wardell | Davis Clipper
BROOKE BULKELEY and Barb Sterns (right) sign their marriage certificate at the Davis County offices in December 2013. Photo by Jenniffer Wardell | Davis Clipper
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Crowds gathered at the clerks office at 8 a.m. Monday morning. Photo by Tom Busselberg | Davis Clipper
Crowds gathered at the clerks office at 8 a.m. Monday morning. Photo by Tom Busselberg | Davis Clipper
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FARMINGTON - Several same-sex couples lined up early in front of the Davis County Administration Building in Farmington on Monday to apply for marriage licenses - following a federal judge's ruling against Utah's Amendment 3.

Governor Gary Herbert and acting attorney general Brian Tarbot filed a motion to stay the decision over the weekend, but the motion was denied by Judge Robert J. Shelby of the U.S. District Court Monday morning. The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals twice denied motions for an appeal from the state, which left the decision about the stay in Shelby's hands.

"I think the Constitution will prevail," said Barb Sterns, who married Brooke Bulkeley that morning.

After being granted licenses, about 20 couples were immediately married in the Davis courts building next door. Half of the couples were married by county officials and the other half were married by clergy. A second rush of couples came in just after 10, many hoping to escape the lines in Salt Lake City.

"They were fully prepared and extremely helpful, especially considering we heard that Box Elder wouldn't even open their doors," said Sterns. The couple married out of state in 2009, but wanted to repeat the ceremony in Utah. "Davis County - the other Sugar House."

The rush on same-sex marriages came after Shelby struck down the law on Friday afternoon. The summary judgment came after a lawsuit suit was brought against Governor Gary Herbert and the State of Utah.

Utah's Amendment 3 was passed in November of 2004, and also prohibited any other "... domestic union, however denominated" or to be recognized as a marriage or having "...substantially equivalent legal effect."

One couple who spoke to the Davis Clipper said they have been waiting to get married for 14 years. Scott Gardner and Zach Farley of West Bountiful were planning on going to California to be married on January 2, but decided to get married at home when the ban on same-sex marriage was lifted.

Julie and Sharon (who asked that their last names not be used), another couple who had planned on going to California to get married, was glad to be able to do it closer to home.

"The legal changes are nice," said Sharon. "But we've been together for eight years, so I don't think day to day it will be a big deal."

County officials arrived at 7:00 a.m. to prepare for the rush on licenses, and provided security for protection of those assembled at the offices. No incidents were reported as the marriages were performed.

"The feeling has been good, I think," said Davis County Assistant County Clerk Brian McKenzie. "We just opened for regular business hours."

In a statement to the Clipper Friday evening, Davis County Clerk/Auditor Steve Rawlings said, "After reading the decision, and conferring with our county attorney, who has now taken the time to talk to other legal officials throughout the state, I have been directed to begin issuing same sex marriage licenses immediately, upon request. This decision is one that complies with the current law."

On Saturday, the governor's office sent out a letter to all county clerks in the state saying Shelby's decision had caused "uncertainty," and that clerks should consult with their county attorneys and councils before proceeding.

Stay connected with davisclipper.com for updates on this story.

Tom Busselberg, Dan Metcalf and Jenniffer Wardell contributed reporting

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