ST. GEORGE – In the wake of the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announcing Friday that the federal government would recognize same-sex marriages in Utah, advocacy groups have praised the action, while others, like the Family Research Council, have railed against it.
Family Research Council supports the state
Tony Perkins, FRC president, released a statement Friday following Holder’s announcement, calling the government’s decision “an effort to make law in the breach and shows contempt for the states, the federal courts, and Congress.”
Same-sex marriages in Utah were performed between Dec. 20 and Jan. 6 following Utah’s same-sex marriage ban being struck by by Federal District Court Judge Robert Shelby. Over 1,300 same-sex marriages were performed by Jan. 6, when the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay on Shelby’s ruling pending Utah’s appeal. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert chose not to recognize the marriages, as state law concerning the matter, which has been re-established for now due to the stay, does not allow him to.
However, while Utah doesn’t recognize the same-sex marriage, the federal government will.
“It only adds to the administrative chaos by flouting Utah’s marriage law and is in contrast to the U.S. Supreme Court’s cautious approach in granting a stay in the case,” Perkins said. “The Department of Justice’s announcement is doing the very thing which the Supreme Court condemned in the U.S. vs. Windsor decision – ‘creating two contradictory marriage regimes within the same state.’”
Perkins then announced FRC’s endorsement of the “State Marriage Defense Act,” which he said requires the federal government to leave the definition of marriage in the hands of the state in which a couple resides in.
Petition by same-sex marriage supporters opposes the state
Just as advocates of traditional marriage fight on, so are supporters of same-sex marriage. A number of petitions asking Gov. Gary Herbert not to oppose Shelby’s ruling and to let the state recognize the marriages performed since.
Another petition, one created by Salt Lake resident Sophia Hawes on Change.org, asks for Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes not to waste state money by pursuing the appeal in the court. Wording on the petition also claims it is not the will of the people in Utah.
“This decision does not represent me, one of his constituents,” Hawes said on the petition. “Also, it does not represent that of my wife. While we’re at it, There are close to 1000 couples, that’s 2000 people this misrepresents as well, in their decision to be lawfully wed.”
It is estimated that $2 million could be spent by the state while fighting to keep Amendment 3, the state law that defines marriage as only being between one man and one woman. Hawes’s petition claims a large part of Utah’s electorate does not want their tax dollars wasted in the endeavor, and that marriage equality is the will of the people.
“There are plenty better things to spend money on in Utah, like cleaning the air, providing funds to WIC, public transportation and education,” Hawes wrote.
According to Change.org, Hawes’s petition reached 30,000 signatures on Sunday. On Monday she plans to present the petition to the Utah Attorney General’s Office
- LDS Church issues instruction to church leaders on same-sex marriage, calls for civility
- Federal government announces it will recognize Utah’s same-sex marriages
- Utah will not recognize same-sex marriages
- On the EDge: Same-sex marriage isn’t dead, just on hold
- U.S. Supreme Court halts same-sex marriages in Utah
- Utah appeals to U.S. Supreme Court to halt same-sex marriages
- Tenth Circuit denies Utah’s appeal for stay on same-sex marriage ruling
- Marriage licenses issued, weddings had for same-sex couples in Washington County
- Judge denies Utah’s request for emergency stay, same-sex marriage decision
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