Utah Delivers Bad News to Gay Couples Who Wed

Those marriages won't be recognized as case goes through appeals process
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 8, 2014 3:19 PM CST
In this Dec. 26 photo, Cheryl Haws, right, and partner Shelly Eyre have their photograph taken after receiving their marriage license at the Utah County Clerk's office in Provo.   (AP Photo/The Daily Herald, Mark Johnston, File)

(Newser) – In the 17 days between the time a federal judge gave the green light to gay marriage in Utah and the Supreme Court put the practice on hold, about 1,300 same-sex couples got hitched. Or did they? The state today announced that it won't recognize the marriages as valid as the matter unwinds in the courts, reports the Salt Lake Tribune. Until then, they're in marital limbo. "Please understand this position is not intended to comment on the legal status of those same-sex marriages," says a letter from the office of Gov. Gary Herbert. "That is for the courts to decide."

The decision by the Supreme Court to stay the lower court's ruling means that Utah's original ban on gay marriage is now once again the law of the land, says the governor. The marriages would be valid again if same-sex supporters ultimately triumph in court, and such a victory could help those beyond Utah, says Jeffrey Toobin at CNN. That's because this could well end up being decided by the Supreme Court, and unlike earlier, narrower rulings, this case could settle the broader question of whether gay Americans have a constitutional right to marry. (Read more Utah stories.)

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