Hundreds of same-sex marriage supporters gathered at the State Capitol this afternoon to urge the governor to stop fighting the case against Utah’s Amendment 3.
The rally featured several speakers who all called on Governor Herbert to recognize the more than one thousand same-sex marriages performed in the state. Derek Kitchen is one of the plaintiffs in the original lawsuit against the state. He says he wasn’t surprised by today’s announcement that the federal government will recognize the same sex marriages that occurred in the state.
“I am surprised and disappointed in the state of Utah for not recognizing those marriages that they issued themselves during those two weeks when marriage was legal here," Kitchen says. "That is unprecedented and quite surprising that Governor Herbert is willing to take that risk. We’ll see where it goes from here.”
Democratic State Senator Jim Dabakis is among those who got married during the two-week window. He says the Department of Justice made the right decision but it doesn’t really accomplish what they want here in Utah.
“I want to see a Utah solution," Dabakis says. "I want the Utah Governor to recognize, and the Utah legislature and the Utah Attorney General to recognize the dignity of tens of thousands of Utah families.”
Utah Attorney General spokeswoman Missy Larson says marriages that occurred in Utah would now be recognized in the seventeen other states that allow gay marriage.
“They will not be recognized in Utah, but they do have a license where they can be validated if they were to go to a state that does recognize,” Larson says.
On December 20th, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby overturned Amendment 3 that banned same sex marriage. The U.S. Supreme Court then granted Utah’s request to stay that decision. The Attorney General is preparing to appeal Shelby’s ruling in the Tenth Circuit Court.