While just weeks ago Utah's ban on marriage equality was found to be unconstitutional, a stay on this decision was granted by the U.S. Supreme Court. Earlier today, the Utah governor's office said that all marriages performed for over 1,300 gay couples in the state before the stay are not to be recognized. Performing marriages for gay couples is once again prohibited, as well.
Governor Gary Herbert's chief of staff, Derek Miller, stated in a letter to state agencies, "Wherever individuals are in the process of availing themselves of state services related to same-sex marital status, that process is on hold and will stay exactly in that position until a final court decision is issued."
Miller also said in the letter, "Please understand this position is not intended to comment on the legal status of those same-sex marriages — that is for the courts to decide. The intent of this communication is to direct state agency compliance with current laws that prohibit the state from recognizing same-sex marriages."
However, according to Lamda Legal's Camilla Taylor who spoke on MSNBC following the stay, "In almost all of the cases in which we've won marriage in state high court, a stay was granted pending a final determination by the state high court…But there's something important to remember here, which is the fact that the Supreme Court halted the further issuance of marriage licenses through this stay---that doesn't do anything about the validity of the 1,000 marriage licenses that are already out there. They remain perfectly valid." You can watch the full conversation below:
Governor Herbert and Attorney General Sean Reyes, who is set to spend an estimated $2 million fighting marriage equality in Utah, had requested stays from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, but were denied before the matter reached the U.S. Supreme Court. The case is now expected to go before the 10th Circuit in February, in an expedited process.
Join GLAAD's Director of News Ross Murray on Thursday, January 9 for a Google+ hangout examining "What's next for marriage equality in Utah?" Joining him are BuzzFeed Legal Editor Chris Geidner, one of Utah's first married gay couples Seth Anderson and Michael Ferguson, Freedom to Marry's Founder and President Evan Wolfson, and more.