BY DAN METCALF, JR.
Clipper Online Editor
FARMINGTON - Governor Gary Herbert announced that state agencies will not recognize same sex-marriages performed since a federal judge ruled Utah's Amendment 3 unconstitutional on December 20.
The U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay against Robert Shelby's summary judgment on Monday, January 6.
The stay halted the issuing of any more licenses for same-sex couples, but did not address the status of coupes who were married between Dec. 20 and Jan. 6.
Herbert's letter sent by his chief of staff Derek Miller stated that, "With the district court injunction now stayed, the original laws governing marriage in Utah return to effect pending final resolution by the courts. It is important to understand that those laws include not only a prohibition of performing same-sex marriages but also recognizing same-sex marriages."
The letter addressed some of the problematic issues produced by the see-saw effects of the case, which will now go to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals sometime in the early spring.
One of the issues is state drivers licenses.
Mller's letter said, "...if a same-sex married couple previously changed their names on new drivers licenses, those licenses should not be revoked. If a same-sex couple seeks to change their names on drivers licenses now, the law does not allow the state agency to recognize the marriage therefore the new drivers licenses cannot be issued."
In short, the letter affirmed that with the Supreme Court's stay in place, Utah's Amendment 3 is currently the law.
Amendment 3 was passed in 2004 and guaranteed that the state would only recognize marriages between a man and a woman.
The Utah ACLU chapter quickly responded to the news by drafting a letter to Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes.
The ACLU letter said, "...it is clear that the moment these couples were married, they obtained vested rights that cannot be retroactively invalidated by Utah."
"When these couples married, they immediately obtained all of the same protections and obligations enjoyed by all of the other married couples in Utah" Utah ACLU Legal Director John Mejia stated. "Because these rights were vested when they were married, they are protected by the due process guarantees of the Utah and United States Constitution."
Mejia added, "... to retroactively invalidate these marriages would be an affront to the dignity and financial well-being of these couples and their families."
Miller's letter to the State Cabinet addressed the effects of refusing to recognize same-sex marriages already performed.
"We also recognize that these changes affect real people’s lives," said Miller. "Let us carefully and considerately ensure that we, and our employees throughout the state, continue to treat all people with respect and understanding as we assist them."
Stay connected with davsclipper.com for updates on this developing story.