Here’s the legal weirdness that the around 1,000 same-sex married couples in Utah currently face.
Utah, the state in which those couples were married before the Supreme Court ordered a stay, will not recognize their marriages. The official word from the state is that the status of their marriages is “on hold until further notice,” presumably until the appeal over the previous decision to allow same-sex marriage in the state is resolved.
The United States government, however, will recognize those marriages, as Attorney General Eric Holder outlined Friday morning. “I am confirming today that, for purposes of federal law, these marriages will be recognized as lawful and considered eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages,” Holder said in a statement. He cited last year’s ruling in United States v. Windsor (the case that gutted the Defense of Marriage Act) as his reasoning.
Courts move slowly, and the final decision over gay marriage in Utah could take months or years even. And couples, who thought they were legally married, deserve clear, quick answers.