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From full cooperation to flat-out refusals, counties vary on same-sex marriage stance

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Posted at 10:12 PM, Dec 23, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-24 14:22:35-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Salt Lake County issued a record number of marriage licenses Monday.

County Clerk Sherrie Swenson says since Friday nearly 500 couples have married.  They poured into the county clerk's office by the hundreds.  The line stretched around the building.

But some wonder how long will gay marriage remain legal in Utah.

"In a way it's sad because we had to get married today because our rights could be taken away tomorrow and that was our honest fear," said Kelvyn Brock.

As of Tuesday afternoon, six of Utah's 29 counties had not issued same-sex marriage licenses.

Cache County original refused to issue marriage licenses, closing the clerk's office Monday. A statement was posted on the door saying the clerks are sorting through legal confusion,  waiting to see if these marriages are put on hold for an appeals process.

"If a stay is granted and the state prevails then all of these things transpiring now will be undone, they'll be void," said Cache County Executive Lynn Lemon

Haley Simpson and Karlee Dickson wanted to marry but couldn't.

"I think it's silly,” said Simpson.  “It's kind of confusing.  They say Cache County issuing marriage licenses and it's closed?"

Joe Fonohema & Jennifer Miller were last in line to get their marriage license at Salt Lake County.
Utah County turned them away.

"I can't understand why,” said Fonohema.   “My whole family is for it and they're very, very LDS."

Sevier County is also now issuing marriage licenses.

If a county isn't issuing same-sex marriage licenses are they breaking the law?  The ACLU says yes, a family law attorney says that's questionable.

"It's up to the county attorney's and the county clerks to decide what they're going to do so there's really been a lack of direction at the state level to tell the clerks what they should or shouldn't be doing," said family law attorney Tanya Peters.

"The judge didn't speak to county clerks in particular but it's very obvious from the ruling," said John Mejia, Legal Director of the ACLU of Utah.

Mejia says the ACLU is watching the counties that are not issuing same-sex marriage licenses and there could be legal ramifications.