Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s (R) office announced Wednesday that his state will not recognize the over 1,300 same sex marriages performed between when a federal trial judge held that the Constitution requires marriage equality and when the Supreme Court stayed that decision on Monday. The governor’s announcement applies so long as the Supreme Court’s stay is in effect.
Though a disappointing announcement for the hundreds of couples who briefly enjoyed the full blessings of liberty in Utah, this is not a particularly surprising one. Utah’s constitution provides that “[m]arriage consists only of the legal union between a man and a woman,” and the legal basis for ignoring this discriminatory provision and allowing the over 1,300 couples to marry was a court order that has now ceased to function for as long as the stay is in effect.
While it is certainly true that the Constitution of the United States — with its requirement that gay couples be afforded the “equal protection of the laws” — trumps the Utah constitution, Utah has made it perfectly clear that they plan to fight offering equal rights to gay couples until the bitter end.
The governor’s office made this announcement despite the fact that Attorney General Sean Reyes (R) says that he was “unable to reach a legal conclusion as to the ultimate validity of marriage between persons of the same sex who completed their marriage ceremony in Utah between Dec 20, 2013 and Jan. 6, 2014.”