More than 1,000 people filled Utah's
ornate capitol rotunda on Friday to ask Governor Gary Herbert to drop
an appeal in a case that struck down Utah's ban on gay marriage.
The Salt Lake City rally took place on
the same day the Obama administration announced that the federal
government would recognize the more than 1,300 marriage licenses Utah
issued to gay and lesbian couples during the 17 days when such unions
were legal in the state.
“What a momentous time this is for us
today because today's decision by [U.S. Attorney General] Eric Holder
recognizes that the protections in the constitution are guaranteed to
all Utahns,” Troy Williams, a local radio host and a prominent gay
rights activist, told
The Obama administration's announcement
came two days after Utah officials announced that the state was
placing all the marriages “on hold” as it sought an appeal in the
Tim Wagner of Salt Lake City and Matt
Jacobson of St. George gathered more than 58,000 signatures between
two separate online petitions.
petition calls on Hebert to let the ruling stand, while
petition urges Utah not to waste an estimated $2 million fighting
“I care about love, just like the
rest of you. That's why I did this,” Wagner said.
Riley Hackford-Peer, a red-headed
sixth-grader, told the crowd that he had asked his moms Ruth and Kim
to marry in Iowa. He said that his moms explained that Utah does not
recognize the out-of-state marriages of gay couples. Then came the
“On December 20, it happened,” an
energetic Riley said. “I saw my moms get married in Utah. It felt
like fireworks bursting in my heart.”
“Some people do not believe I am from
a loving family because my moms are gay. They are wrong. I love my
moms, and my moms love me and my brother unconditionally,” he
added to cheers from the crowd.
(Video from the event is embedded on
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