Utah officials react: Same-sex marriage legal in Utah, for now

Posted at 9:55 AM, Oct 06, 2014
and last updated 2014-10-06 19:56:28-04

Gov. Gary Herbert sent Fox 13 this statement on same-sex marriage in Utah:
As I have said all along, the people of Utah and people across the country deserve clarity with respect to the law. It is best if that clarity comes from the nation’s highest court. I am surprised–as are many on both sides of the issue–that the Supreme Court has made the decision not to consider Utah’s case, or any similar case from another state.

I believe states should have the right to determine their own laws regarding marriage. That said, we are a society of laws and we will uphold the law. I have instructed state agencies to implement necessary changes in light of today’s news.

Once again, I encourage all Utahns–regardless of their personal beliefs on this issue–to treat each other with respect.

U.S. Senator Mike Lee
Today, Senator Mike Lee responded to the decision by the Supreme Court to not review several cases involving a state’s right to define marriage:
“The Supreme Court’s decision to not review the Tenth Circuit’s ruling in Kitchen v. Herbert is disappointing.  Nothing in the Constitution forbids a state from retaining the traditional definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman.  Whether to change that definition is a decision best left to the people of each state — not to unelected, politically unaccountable judges. The Supreme Court owes it to the people of those states, whose democratic choices are being invalidated, to review the question soon and reaffirm that states do have that right.”

U.S. Representative Chris Stewart sent Fox 13 this statement on same-sex marriage in Utah:
I am disappointed by the Supreme Court’s refusal to take up Utah’s marriage appeal today. I personally believe that marriage is between one man and one woman and believe that Utahns have the right to decide what’s best for Utah. I am disappointed that the Supreme Court has failed to provide certainty and clarity for Utahns on this issue.

State Senator Jim Dabakis sent Fox 13 this statement on same-sex marriage in Utah:
The Supreme Court decision today allows Utah LGBT families to no longer be second-class families. This is good for them and for Utah. Equality and fairness have always been Utah values. The LGBT community was heartened by Saturday’s Conference words of Elder Dallin Oaks when speaking of possible Court decisions involving marriage, Oaks said, “We should be persons of goodwill toward all,” Dallin H. Oaks said, “rejecting persecution of any kind, including persecution based on race, ethnicity, religious belief or nonbelief, and differences in sexual orientation. It is in that spirit of civility, cooperation and respect for diversity that we as Utahns should seek to move forward together and build an even greater state!

Salt Lake City Mayor Becker sent Fox 13 this statement on same-sex marriage in Utah:
Today is a historic day for equal rights in Utah. I wish to congratulate all of the married couples in Salt Lake City who will now have their relationships legally recognized. This is a momentous occasion for civil rights in our state and nation.

Salt Lake County DA’s Office:
We were pleased with the U.S. Supreme Court’s order this morning taking decisive action on the important issues of same sex marriage and the related fundamental constitutional rights of all Utahns.

Although the Supreme Court’s decision to deny certiorari in all pending cases does not conclusively resolve the issue nationwide, it does provide clarity in Utah and other states where marriage bans were struck down as unconstitutional. In all those states, the intermediate appellate courts had stayed their decisions, i.e., put them on hold, pending action by the Supreme Court.

Here in the Tenth Circuit, the appellate court’s stay remains in place pending that court’s issuance of what is called a “mandate” from the Tenth Circuit’s Clerk’s Office. Specifically, the Tenth Circuit stated, “[i]f a petition for certiorari is filed and denied, we would lift the stay and issue the mandate.”
Given the fundamental constitutional rights at stake, we have every confidence the Tenth Circuit—in light of today’s Supreme Court order declining to hear the Utah case (or any other)—will act swiftly to enter its mandate and lift the stay order.

The Salt Lake County Clerk will begin issuing licenses to same sex couples as soon as the stay is lifted and she is legally authorized to do so.

Utah House Democrats, House Minority Leader Rep. Jennifer Seelig:
We support Utah families. We are excited to know that same sex couples are no longer in legal limbo, and have a chance to be made whole with the legal recognition of their unions. We encourage our Attorney General and Governor to move forward, confirming these spouses’ rights to their children and each other. Today is a day to celebrate.

We understand that this decision did not come lightly, from Judge Shelby all the way to the Supreme Court. We are proud to come from a state of such growing diversity, and hope that, in this decision, we can respect and support people of differing views. We are all a human family, a Utah family, and now we are a legally united one.

Utah Democratic Party Chair Peter Corroon:
Today’s decision acknowledges what Utahns have always known – families come in all shapes and sizes. All families are unique, have dignity, and deserve equal protection under the law. This message echoes statements delivered during this weekend’s LDS Conference — that everyone deserves respect, regardless of differing opinion on this emotional subject. The Utah Democratic Party also supports Supreme Court’s decision to protect both individual and religious liberties, meaning no church or religious organization will be compelled to an act that is against their beliefs.

Democratic candidate for Attorney General Charles A. Stormont:
Only four Justices’ must vote to allow an appeal to proceed to the Supreme Court. The fact that not even four Justices were willing to hear Utah’s case, or any of the other six cases addressing the same issue, demonstrates the weakness of the state’s case.

After ten months since the appeals began, now is the time for Sean Reyes to tell the people how much money he has wasted on these fruitless appeals.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The succession of federal court decisions in recent months, culminating in today’s announcement by the Supreme Court, will have no effect on the doctrinal position or practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is that only marriage between a man and a woman is acceptable to God. In prizing freedom of conscience and Constitutional guarantees of the free exercise of religion, we will continue to teach that standard and uphold it in our religious practices.

Nevertheless, respectful coexistence is possible with those with differing values. As far as the civil law is concerned, the courts have spoken. Church leaders will continue to encourage our people to be persons of good will toward all, rejecting persecution of any kind based on race, ethnicity, religious belief or non-belief, and differences in sexual orientation.

Sutherland Institute’s Director of the Center for Family and Society Bill Duncan:
Children are entitled to be raised by a married mother and father. Sutherland Institute is deeply disappointed that the Supreme Court has failed to correct the lawlessness of lower courts that have deprived the people of Utah and other states of their ability to protect that entitlement. While it appears that Utah is being forced by the federal courts to recognize same-sex marriages, there are still other states whose laws the courts have not yet disrupted. We will provide whatever support we can to those states and hope the Supreme Court will reconsider this unwise action in a future case.

Executive Director of Alliance for a Better Utah, Maryann Martindale:
We share in the joy thousands of Utahns experienced this morning upon learning that marriage equality is now the law of the land in our state. We encourage state officials and county clerks, despite their personal position on marriage equality, to honor the Supreme Court’s decision by issuing marriage licenses and otherwise complying with the law. Now is the time to unite as Utahns. What binds us is far stronger than what divides us.

Executive Director of Mormons for Equality, Spencer W. Clark:
Obviously, we’re thrilled that many families in Utah and several other states will finally be granted equal treatment under the law. While we would love to have a more final judgment on the issue from the Supreme Court, this at least brings the protections of marriage sooner to thousands of parents and their children.

We recognize that a great many of our fellow Mormons will be disappointed with the Supreme Court’s action today, however we appreciate LDS Apostle Dallin H. Oaks’ comments this past weekend noting that people of different perspectives can nonetheless live together in harmony. Over a decade of experience with civil marriage equality in various jurisdictions has shown this to be true, and we trust that Utah’s experience will be similar.

We further echo Elder Oaks’ call for civility and compassion on all sides. While we rightfully celebrate the positive impact this will have on many families, supporters of marriage equality should not gloat or taunt those who disagree. As people arguing on behalf of love, fairness and respect for all families, we should be the foremost example of these same values toward our detractors, even as Jesus taught.

Celebration of Marriage:
The credibility of the judicial system is permanently damaged when it concludes that adult relationships are so important that children must give up their relationships with their own mother or father when it comes into conflict with gay marriage.

In denying to hear Utah’s case, the Supreme Court has turned a blind eye to a child’s need for both a father and mother. This causes irreparable rifts in every aspect of family law, from custody battles in divorce courts, to adoptions that idealize motherless and fatherless family structures. The resulting fracture of family law will weaken Americans’ natural respect for the Court and turn the question of children’s legal relationships into an unresolvable and painful chaos.

Although the lower courts have been allowed to redefine marriage in Utah, Utahns who stand with children will continue to vigorously support policy that prioritizes children’s most important relationships above other considerations.