Utah Governor Gary Herbert announced
late Tuesday that Utah would not recognize more than 1,300 gay
couples married in the state.
In an email to state cabinet members,
the Herbert administration said state recognition of such unions is “on
hold until further notice.”
“Please understand this position is
not intended to comment on the legal status of those same-sex
marriages – that is for the courts to decide,” the
email reads. “The intent of this communication is to direct
state agency compliance with current laws that prohibit the state
from recognizing same-sex marriages.”
Herbert added that state
non-recognition is not retroactive.
“For example, if a same-sex married
couple previously changed their names on new drivers licenses, those
licenses should not be revoked. If a same-sex couple seeks to change
their names on drivers licenses now, the law does not allow the state
agency to recognize the marriage, therefore the new drivers licenses
cannot be issued,” the email stated.
“We also recognize that these changes
affect real people's lives. Let us carefully and considerately
ensure that we, and our employees throughout the state, continue to
treat all people with respect and understanding as we assist them.”
For 17 days starting on December 20,
Utah was the 18th state to legalize same-sex marriage
following a federal judge's order declaring Amendment 3, the state's
2004 voter-approved constitutional amendment limiting marriage to
heterosexual couples, in violation of the U.S. Constitution. On
Monday, the Supreme Court unanimously agreed to put the decision on
hold until the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver
reviews the case. The appeals court has fast tracked the case and a
ruling is expected in the summer.