Gay Utah Couples Are Married in the Eyes of the U.S. — but Not in the State That Married Them?

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The courts need to roll next.
National Journal
Brian Resnick
Jan. 10, 2014, 7:24 a.m.

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.

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