Lawyer advises Utah employers regarding same-sex couples

Posted at 9:17 PM, Jan 12, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-12 23:17:24-05

SALT LAKE CITY – Same-sex couples who were married in Utah before a federal judge ordered a stay are facing uncertainty, and so are their employers.

Utah officials have said Utah is not recognizing same-sex marriages that were performed in the state, while US Attorney General Eric Holder has announced the federal government is recognizing the marriages.

The stay is in place until a decision is made on a pending legal appeal, but Utah employers will have to decide whether to follow the federal or the state position on same-sex couples when it comes to employee benefits.

Greg Saylin is an attorney specializing in labor and employment, and he said employers are likely better off following the federal government’s lead on this issue.

“We recommend to an employer who has an employee who has entered into a same-sex marriage in Utah and comes to them to tell them of the change in circumstance that they recognize the marriage for the purposes of employee benefits,” he said.

Saylin said employers run a greater risk by not recognizing the marriages than they do if they should recognize the marriage.