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Advocacy groups mobilize to support married, same-sex couples in Utah

Thursday, January 9, 2014
Hundreds of same-sex couples wrapped around two floors at the Salt Lake County Complex on Dec.   23 waiting to obtain marriage licenses.

Hundreds of same-sex couples wrapped around two floors at the Salt Lake County Complex on Dec. 23 waiting to obtain marriage licenses.

LGBT advocacy groups on Thursday began mobilizing efforts in response to Utah governor Gary Herbert’s announcement Wednesday that the state was putting “on hold” the recognition of same-sex unions performed after a federal judge ruled against Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage.

The U.S. Supreme Court decided on Monday to bring a temporary halt to the marriages until the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals considers the long-term question of whether same-sex couples have a right to wed in Utah.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) said Thursday was joining in the appeal as co-counsel for the plaintiff couples.

The case was brought by three same-sex couples in Utah: Derek Kitchen and Moudi Sbeity; Karen Archer and Kate Call; and Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge.

On Dec. 20, U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby ruled that Utah’s ban on marriage by same-sex couples violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process of law. The Tenth Circuit has ordered an expedited briefing schedule, with briefing to be completed by February 25, 2014.

Also Thursday, the ACLU of Utah said it is gathering clients whose marriages are now not recognized by Utah for a potential class action lawsuit.

The group has sent a letter to state Attorney General Sean Reyes arguing that the same-sex marriages performed in Utah between Dec. 20 and Jan. 6 are legal, and should remain valid.

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“They have the same rights, protections and obligations as any other couple in Utah and they deserve to have their marriages respected and recognized,” said John Mejia, ACLU of Utah Legal Director.

And in a separate letter obtained by The Associated Press, the Human Rights Campaign asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to allow married same-sex couples in Utah to receive federal benefits.

The HRC also called on the 18 states where same-sex marriages are recognized to extend that recognition to the more than 1,300 gay and lesbian couples who entered into legal marriages in Utah.

The actions come one day after Herbert instructed state agencies to hold off on processing any new benefits for the newly-married couples.

Associated Press contributed to this report.
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9 more reader comments:

  1. In a way, I’m actually glad this has happened. Because, now, all those 1300 plus couples can rightfully sue the ever-loving shit out of this dumbass governor. Those couples, each and every single one of them, were all legally married. The federal government will recognize them as such, and this idiotic bigot who took it upon himself to hold those marriages in question will very quickly have more legal trouble on his plate than he will ever be able to live down. Serves him right, I say. He brought this entire unnecessary fiasco down upon himself!

    Posted on Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 8:54pm
  2. Hear, hear. Utah should be sued relentlessly. This should be the only thing they have time to deal with until they either relent, or retire broken and broke.

    Replied on Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 9:58pm
  3. Sue his ass. Sue the state lawmakers, fuck em all!

    Replied on Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 10:28pm
  4. Yes get us connected, mobilized and acting as one!

    Posted on Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 9:28pm
  5. If we ALL CAN’T MARRY, we’re NOT EQUAL. PLEASE SIGN & SHARE become a part of history. If we believe it, we can achieve it!! We need more signatures, especially Georgia residents. http://chn.ge/19xbptJ

    Posted on Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 9:54pm
  6. we WILL win eventully keep up the pressure folks

    Posted on Thursday, January 9, 2014 at 10:38pm
  7. Go get em!

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 1:11am
  8. I totally agree with Keith Summers and I just want to see the end of this affair of how many “narrow minds” are going to have to swallow their pride when, as Proposition 8, in California was overturned, Utah will be challenged and it will overturn to allow same sex-marriage again. Patience will pay off …..

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 2:42am
  9. We really need your help, here in Utah.. We are fighting against incredible odds. The State of Utah says it will do and spen whatever it takes to reverse the court decision. Please “Friend” RestoreOurHumanity.org. This is the organization that challenged the Utah ban.. Thanks!

    Posted on Friday, January 10, 2014 at 2:47am