A federal judge on Monday ordered the
state of Utah to recognize the marriages of more than 1,300 gay and
lesbian couples who exchanged vows during the 17-day window when such
unions were legal in the state.
In his 75-page ruling, U.S. District
Court Judge Dale Kimball said the state's refusal to recognize the
marriages of gay couples married after a federal judge overturned
Utah's ban on December 20 causes harm to the families.
“These legal uncertainties and lost
rights cause harm each day that the marriage is not recognized,”
Kimball stayed his ruling three weeks,
giving state officials an opportunity to appeal the ruling to the
Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.
Plaintiffs in the case, four gay
couples who married in Utah, are represented by the ACLU.
Tony Milner and Matt Barraza, one of
the couples involved in the case, told The Salt Lake Tribune
that adoption proceedings were stopped after the state decided it
would not recognize the marriages that had already taken place as it
pursues an appeal.
Attorneys for the state said that the
couples' marriages should not be recognized until all appeals have
Complicating matters is a ruling handed
down Friday by the Utah Supreme Court granting a stay in several
lower court orders requiring the Department of Health to issue birth
certificates in adoptions involving married gay couples.
Supreme Court grants stay in gay adoption rulings.)