Utah Hub

Utah Government Moves To Cover Plaintiff Attorney Fees In Same-Sex Marriage Case

UtahThe state of Utah has agreed to cover the attorney’s feed for the four couples represented in Evans v. Utah, a case seeking spousal benefits for same sex married couples in the state. Earlier this week, U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball signed an order stating that Utah would pay $95,000 worth of attorneys fees owed by the lawsuit’s eight plaintiffs. Additionally, Kimball made permanent the previously temporary injunction against Utah’s gay marriage ban, effectively legalizing same sex unions in the state.

U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby ruled Utah’s ban on same sex marriage unconstitutional in 2013, but the ruling was quickly stayed following an appeal by the state. Attorneys representing Evans v. Utah’s plaintiffs sought nearly $200,000 from the state, according to individual filings to both U.S. District court and the appeals court.

In an email to The Salt Lake Tribune, ACLU spokesman John Mejia expressed the agency’s support of Kimball’s decision to make the injunction permanent. Rather than commenting on the order, Missy Larsen, spokeswoman for Utah Attorney General’s Office stated that the decision spoke for itself.

Utah Supreme Court Lifts Stay on Gay Adoptions

UtahThe Utah Supreme Court on Thursday lifted a five-month old stay barring same-sex couples from adoption rights, The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

The action clears the way for the Utah Department of Health to issue birth certificates that list the same-sex parents as the children’s legal parents. It will also restart countless other adoptions that were left in limbo by Utah’s contention that the cases should be on hold until it was clear that gay marriage would be legal in the Beehive state.

"The families involved are obviously relieved and thrilled," said Laura Milliken Gray, an attorney who represented one of the four families, and who also had six other adoptions in process when the stay was put in place.

The paper states the Utah Attorney General's Office asked the state's high court to lift the stay, following marriage equality coming to the Beehive State earlier this month. The paper also adds 26 percent of Utah's same-sex couples are raising children, according to data from UCLA's Williams Institute. 

Eric Holder Announces Federal Government Will Recognize Gay Marriage in Seven New States: VIDEO


Responding to the Supreme Court's marriage decision last week, Attorney General Eric Holder announced today that the federal government will begin recognizing same-sex marriages taking place in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Idaho - with additional states likely to follow.

Said Holder:

“I am pleased to announce that the federal government will recognize the same-sex marriages now taking place in the affected states, and I have directed lawyers here at the Department of Justice to work with our colleagues at agencies across the Administration to ensure that all applicable federal benefits are extended to those couples as soon as possible.  We will not delay in fulfilling our responsibility to afford every eligible couple, whether same-sex or opposite-sex, the full rights and responsibilities to which they are entitled.

He continued:

The steady progress toward LGBT equality we’ve seen – and celebrated – is important and historic.  But there remain too many places in this country where men and women cannot visit their partners in the hospital, or be recognized as the rightful parents of their own adopted children; where people can be discriminated against just because they are gay.  Challenges to marriage restrictions are still being actively litigated in courts across the country.  And while federal appeals courts have so far been unanimous in finding that bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, if a disagreement does arise, the Supreme Court may address the question head-on.  If that happens, the Justice Department is prepared to file a brief consistent with its past support for marriage equality. 

Watch Holder's full remarks HERE.

In addition to the seven states above, marriage equality has also come to West Virginia, North Carolina, and Arizona (announced earlier today).

Gay marriage began in Alaska but has since been put on hold while the state appeals a pro-equality ruling to the Supreme Court (expect marriages to resume later today)

A federal court ruling in the challenge to Wyoming's gay marriage ban is expected Monday, with Governor Matt Mead saying the state will respect whatever decision is made.

Utah Lawmaker Files Bill To Officially Refer To Gay Marriages As 'Pairages'

PowellIn the wake of the Supreme Court's decision not to hear the 7 petitions it was considering on the question of same-sex marriage, effectively overturning bans on same-sex marriage in 5 states including Utah, a Utah lawmaker has introduced a bill that would officially refer to marriages between same-sex couples as "pairages." The New York Times reports:

Just hours after a curt order from the United States Supreme Court on Monday opened the door to same-sex marriages in 11 states, State Representative Kraig Powell, a Republican opponent of same-sex marriage, opened a bill file in the Utah legislature to revise marriage statutes. He suggested rewriting the law to refer to same-sex marriages as “pairages” — an idea that one openly gay Utah lawmaker, State Senator Jim Dabakis, dismissed as so discriminatory that it represented “apartheid marriage.”

But Mr. Powell said the legislature might need to change its laws to reflect what he called the innate differences between a straight couple who are both the biological parents of a child and a same-sex couples who are not. And he said that even the heading that groups the state marriage laws — “Husband and Wife” — would now need rethinking.

“It’s going to start from the very title page,” Mr. Powell said. “If anyone thinks that’s just a technical process, changing wording here and there, they’re mistaken.” He added: “The differences between a same-sex relationship and an opposite-sex relationship are large enough that maybe we ought to recognize the difference between them.”

You'll recall that Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes promised to uphold the 10th Circuit Court's ruling after the Supreme Court decided not to weigh in on the challenge to Utah's marriage ban. Said Reyes on Monday, "We are a state and a people who believe in upholding the law of the land and that has been determined for us today in a way that may be not satisfactory for some, but it is the law of the land." 

[Photo via Facebook]

Mormon Church Responds to SCOTUS Decision: 'Only Marriage Between A Man and a Woman Is Acceptable to God'


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has issued a response to the Supreme Court's decision today that let stand the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling overturning Utah's ban on same-sex marriage

Read the statement, in part:

"The succession of federal court decisions in recent months, culminating in today’s announcement by the Supreme Court, will have no effect on the doctrinal position or practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which is that only marriage between a man and a woman is acceptable to God.

The statement went on to say that churchgoers should continue to reject "persecution of any kind based on race, ethnicity, religious belief or non-belief, and differences in sexual orientation."

U.S. Senator Mike Lee also weighed in on today's news, calling the Supreme Court's decision to not review the appeals "disappointing."

In related news, Utah Governor Gary Herbert and Attorney General Sean Reyes held a press conference this afternoon with Herbert conceding, "We are a state and a people who believe in upholding the law of the land and that has been determined for us today in a way that may be not satisfactory for some, but it is the law of the land." 

You can watch a clip of Reyes and Herbert speak at the press conference, AFTER THE JUMP...

Previously, "WATCH: Gay Couples Tie the Knot in Virginia, Oklahoma, Indiana, Utah, and Wisconsin" [tlrd]

Continue reading "Mormon Church Responds to SCOTUS Decision: 'Only Marriage Between A Man and a Woman Is Acceptable to God'" »

WATCH: Gay Couples Tie the Knot in Virginia, Oklahoma, Indiana, Utah, and Wisconsin


Huge day for equality as gay couples in Utah, Virginia, Oklahoma, Indiana, and Wisconsin have finally secured the freedom to marry after the Supreme Court refused to review seven gay marriage cases before it this morning.

The court's decision has also paved the way for marriage equality to begin in Colorado, Kansas, West Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Wyoming in the near future. 

Tons of footage and pictures are streaming in from couples who are taking part in this historic day. Check out our rolling coverage AFTER THE JUMP...(warning: autoplay)

(photo via Instagram)

Continue reading "WATCH: Gay Couples Tie the Knot in Virginia, Oklahoma, Indiana, Utah, and Wisconsin" »


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