SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Attorney General’s Office criticized a state senator who claimed that if the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of state’s rights on same-sex marriage, it would seek to immediately halt gay nuptials.
On Facebook, Senator Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, posted this:
The post brought a harsh rebuke from Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes’ office.
“Senator Dabakis’ comments are irresponsible and not grounded in any fact. Our office is not preparing any litigation to undo marriages and the Attorney General has not made any statements guaranteeing or predicting a win for the states on the issue,” Reyes said in an emailed statement to FOX 13. “Our office has carefully and conscientiously approached the marriage issue during the entire legal process with the respect and dignity it deserves. It is too bad the Senator continues to try to incite fear and use hate mongering on an issue so important to many people.”
“Hiding behind the device of a rumor from a ‘guy who should know,’ the Senator could have easily called our office in a minute to find out the truth. Clearly, he chose not to so he could generate anxiety and conjure doubts among those who believe, or may be led to believe, our office bears any ill will towards them. We most certainly do not.”
Reached by FOX 13 on Tuesday afternoon, Sen. Dabakis, who is the legislature’s only openly gay lawmaker, stood by his remarks and said Reyes was certainly working “to prevent future marriages.”
“The attorney general has attorneys in his office planning how to make that change as fast as possible and I’m surprised he doesn’t know about it,” Dabakis said. “Every step of the way, the attorney general has even gone the extra mile to try to stop this thing.”
Reyes spokeswoman Missy Larsen insisted Tuesday night the Utah Attorney General’s Office has no work going on to prevent marriages.
In 2013, a federal judge in Utah was the first to declare a ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act. The state appealed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case last year, making same-sex marriage legal in Utah. The state also fought a judge’s ruling to recognize existing same-sex marriages in Utah and lost.
The U.S. Supreme Court could rule any day now on same-sex marriage nationwide. The Utah Attorney General’s Office filed an amicus brief in support of states’ rights.