Same-sex couples apply for marriage licenses

Posted at 5:21 PM, Feb 14, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-14 21:20:54-05

SALT LAKE CITY - Around two dozen same-sex couples spent their Valentine's Day applying for marriage licenses in Salt Lake City as part of a nationwide stand for gay marriage.

The event has been a tradition since the 1990s, but this is the first time Salt Lake City has participated.

"It's important to send that message that the eyes are on Utah and they have been since Prop 8. I think we have a moral obligation to participate in that lawsuit to show discrimination is existing in this country and it's unfair, unjust and unconstitutional," said former Utah Rep. Jackie Biskupski.

The same-sex couples, joined by family, clergy and other supporters, packed the marriage license office at the Salt Lake County Complex.

The movement comes as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear two landmark gay rights cases challenging the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8.

"If we leave this issue up to each individual state, the families that live here may never see that day because there are religious beliefs that will continue to prohibit marriage equality," Biskupski said.

Holding Valentine's Day balloons and roses, each couple approached county clerks, applying for a marriage license, only to be shot down by Utah's Amendment 3, which prohibits same-sex marriage.

"The personnel were very nice and the one lady that was helping us even teared up when she said no so there is definitely a need out there and this is an issue that needs to be addressed and resolved," said Heatherlee Corrigan.

Right now, there is no legal challenge to Utah's Amendment 3. Gay rights activists say that will depend on what the Supreme Court decides. Utah Pride will be filing a brief at the end of the month supporting the challenged of DOMA and Proposition 8.