Judge Rules Utah Must Recognize Same-Sex Marriages

May 19, 2014

UPDATED AT 10:30 P.M. 5/19/14.

A federal judge ruled on Monday that Utah must recognize more than 1,000 same-sex couples who married in the state during a brief period of time when such marriages were legal. 

On December 20th last year, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby ruled that Utah’s law banning same sex marriage is unconstitutional. But by January 6th, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay of that ruling. In a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, several same-sex couples who married during that 17-day period sued the state, which has refused to recognize their marriages.  On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Dale Kimball ruled that those marriages must be recognized by Utah, but he stayed his own decision and is giving the state 21 days to appeal.  Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes said in a statement that he has not yet decided whether to appeal Kimball’s ruling and his office will make decision within the three week allotted time period.

In April, state attorneys argued against Judge Shelby’s ruling in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. That three judge panel could rule at any time on the overall question of whether Utah’s ban on same sex marriage is unconstitutional.