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Utah says it will fight same-sex marriage recognition

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Posted at 9:52 PM, Jun 04, 2014
and last updated 2014-06-05 11:14:15-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Attorney General’s Office filed notice Wednesday night that it will appeal a federal judge’s order that it recognize more than 1,200 same-sex marriages.

The filing obtained by FOX 13 gave notice that the state intended to ask the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to decide if it should offer state benefits to couples who married after Amendment 3 was overturned by another federal judge.

Read the filing here:

Missy Larsen, a spokeswoman for Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, told FOX 13 a formal appeal will be filed with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver on Thursday.

Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Dale Kimball ordered the state of Utah to recognize more than 1,200 same-sex marriages performed after Amendment 3 was declared unconstitutional in December. Four same-sex couples and the ACLU of Utah sued the state after Governor Gary Herbert ordered agencies not to recognize the marriages while it appealed the Amendment 3 ruling.

Since Judge Kimball’s ruling, the state has gone back and forth over whether to appeal. In remarks to FOX 13 last month, Governor Herbert wondered if it “was worth our time.” The governor recently came under fire for comments he made about homosexuality.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals could rule any day now whether to uphold U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby’s ruling that Amendment 3 was unconstitutional. The state has said in court filings that if it prevailed, it would seek to invalidate the same-sex marriages performed in Utah.

In an analysis of marriage records conducted by FOX 13, just over 1,200 same-sex couples married during the 17 days before it was halted by the U.S. Supreme Court, pending the appeal of Amendment 3.

Same-sex marriage estimates in Utah

The Utah Attorney General’s Office tells FOX 13 it will ask the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to issue a stay, allowing the state to not recognize the marriages while the appeal is pending.

RELATED: Court documents in the Amendment 3 appeal

RELATED: Complete coverage from FOX 13 on the Amendment 3 appeal