Despite uncertainty and some rejection,
about 700 gay and lesbian couples in Utah tied the knot between
Friday and Monday.
Euphoric gay couples began flooding
county clerk offices on Friday after U.S. District Judge Robert J.
Shelby ruled the state's gay marriage ban invalid.
In his 52-page ruling, Shelby declared
Amendment 3, the state's 2004 voter-approved constitutional amendment
which limits marriage to heterosexual unions, in violation of the
14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
State attorneys on Friday and again on
Monday attempted to block implementation of the decision. But
neither the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver nor
Shelby would agree to a stay.
During a hearing on Monday that lasted
more than 2 hours, Shelby questioned why the state waited to file a
request for a stay and was clearly agitated when the state recycled
arguments that Shelby had already denied.
Shelby also stated that counties that
refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay couples are violating the
Of the state's 29 counties, only six
had yet to announce plans to begin issuing such licenses as of late
Monday. They are Box Elder, Cache, Juab, Piute, San Juan and Utah.
Cache County closed its doors on Monday, saying in a statement that
it needed to “sort out the legal issues and confusion in the wake
of Judge Shelby's decision.”
According to Salt Lake City's KSL, Utah
County Clerk Auditor Bryan E. Thompson was served with a lawsuit for
refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
A third day of uncertainty awaits
same-sex couples looking to wed on Tuesday, Christmas Eve, as the
10th Circuit Court of Appeals considers the state's
request for a stay in the ruling as the state's appeal in the case
UPDATE: Cache and Juab counties on Tuesday began
issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.