ACLU asks judge to rule on recognizing same-sex marriages

Posted at 11:30 AM, May 19, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-19 13:32:54-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The American Civil Liberties Union is asking a federal judge not to wait any longer to decide if the state of Utah should be forced to recognize more than 1,200 same-sex marriages performed here.

In a filing in U.S. District Court over the weekend, the ACLU asked Judge Dale Kimball to issue a preliminary injunction, forcing Utah to recognize the marriages performed in the 17 days it was allowed.

The Utah Attorney General’s Office recently asked for part of the case to be sent to the Utah Supreme Court to decide, especially as it pertains to adoptions involving legally married same-sex couples. The state’s top court recently intervened in those adoptions.

The ACLU’s filing takes note of the Utah Supreme Court action, but says a federal judge should not have to wait on them.

“Regardless of how the Utah Supreme Court ultimately rules with respect to the proper interpretation of Utah’s marriage amendment under principles of state law, Defendants’ decision to strip recognition from Plaintiffs’ legally valid marriages violates their rights under the Fourteenth Amendment,” ACLU of Utah Legal Director John Mejia wrote.

Same-sex marriage estimates in UtahAn analysis by FOX 13 of marriage licenses in Utah found that 1,259 same-sex couples wed during the 17-days after U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby overturned Amendment 3, the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. The U.S. Supreme Court halted same-sex marriage in Utah pending an appeal of Shelby’s ruling.

The ACLU sued on behalf of four legally married same-sex couples who have demanded the state of Utah recognize the marriages it performed during that time period. Governor Gary Herbert issued a directive that state agencies not recognize the marriages, even though the federal government will.

Only the Utah State Tax Commission has recognized legally married same-sex couples in Utah for the purposes of joint tax filings.

Read the ACLU’s filing here: