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Utah AG could be held in contempt for blocking same-sex couple’s adoption

Friday, May 16, 2014
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SALT LAKE CITY — A state judge has ordered Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes and two state health officials to explain the state’s refusal to recognize a same-sex couple’s adoption.

Attorney General Sean Reyes (R-Utah)

Attorney General Sean Reyes (R-Utah)

Third District Judge Andrew Stone ordered the officials to appear at a June 16 hearing to show why they should not be held in contempt for what he called “their willful disregard and refusal” to honor the adoption.

Judge Stone finalized Kimberly Leary’s adoption March 25, but now the health department refuses to add Kimberly’s name to the birth certificate, on the advice of the attorney general. Instead, Attorney General Reyes is doing what the law forbids – challenging a finalized adoption.

Stone approved the adoption request of Kimberly and Amber Leary on March 25, but health department officials refused to add Kimberly’s name their child’s birth certificate, on the advice of the attorney general.

In April Reyes asked a state appeals court to block two recently approved adoptions for same-sex couples, one of them being the Leary’s.

The state argued that judges erred in granting requests by two couples to add a partner as a legal parent. In each case, only one of the partners has legal custody of a child they are raising together.

The couples are among more than 1,000 gay and lesbian partners who married after a federal judge overturned Utah’s same-sex marriage ban Dec. 20. Those weddings stopped Jan. 6 when the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay, leading Gov. Gary Herbert to put a hold off on any new benefits for the couples until the courts resolve the issue.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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