State offices in Utah have been ordered not to recognize the more than 1,000 same-sex marriages that were performed in the two weeks prior to the U.S. Supreme Court halting same-sex marriages in the state, according to NBC News.
Utah is not voiding the same-sex marriages that were performed, but said that agenices cannot give the marriages legal recognition.
“Please understand this position is not intended to comment on the legal status of those same-sex marriages — that is for the courts to decide,” Derek Miller, chief of staff to Gov. Gary Herbert, said in a memo Wednesday. “The intent of this communication is to direct state agency compliance with current laws that prohibit the state from recognizing same-sex marriages.”
The newlyweds within the state are now not permitted to file joint tax returns or file for second-parent adoptions.
“It’s like getting the big piece of chocolate cake and never getting to eat it,” said Amy Fowler, an attorney. Fowler waited in line for eight hours to marry her partner, Pidge Winburn, on December 23.
“It was one thing when we didn’t even have those rights, we knew it wasn’t a possibility,” she said. “Then these doors open and you start to plan things and you start to have this sense of empowerment that you get the things everyone gets — and it gets taken away from your. And that is really hard.”
On December 20, a federal judge ruled that the voter-approved ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional and hundreds of people waited in line for hours to receive their marriage licenses.
The Supreme Court issued an emergency order Monday that places a hold on any new marriages until a ruling is made by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Briefs must be filed for the case by the end of February.
“For example, 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,” according to a memo from the governor.
Peggy Tomsic is a lawyer who represented gay couples in the first challenge to the voter-approved ban.
“Regardless of how the State believes the Tenth Circuit will ultimately rule, these couples are legally married and the State should treat them accordingly,” she said.