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Feds will recognize Utah marriages

Timothy Kincaid

January 10th, 2014


In another twist in the Utah marriage battle, the Federal Government has weighed in on the legality of the nuptials performed in Utah’s marriage window. (NYTimes)

The Obama administration on Friday said that it would recognize as lawful the marriages of 1,300 same-sex couples in Utah, even though the state government is refusing to do so.

“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,” Mr. Holder said in the video. “These families should not be asked to endure uncertainty regarding their status as the litigation unfolds.”

This should not be seen as an affront to Utah. It is completely consistent with something that the state’s Attorney General said on Wednesday: (Fox13)

“I want to be clear that we are not saying those marriages are invalid,” Reyes said in an interview Wednesday with FOX 13. “However, as a state we cannot recognize those marriages.”

Reyes insisted that by refusing to recognize the marriages, the state was not effectively invalidating the unions by pointing to other states that recognize same-sex marriages.

“It’s not invalidating it in the same way that if they went to Hawaii, they could potentially apply for benefits there based on the marriage that took place. They can’t be recognized (here),” he said. “There is a very fine distinction, but a very important distinction based on those two things.”

It does, however, help force the hand of the courts a bit. To find that these marriages are invalid and had “never occurred” would be to cause a flood of confusion and administrative nightmares.

Hundreds of couples will be filing Federal income tax returns as married couples, there are likely even some who have made legal changes to their names and who will – by the time of the decision – have signed legal documents or established credit as married couples, and even some may have moved to states in which their marriages are fully recognized and may have availed themselves of state services.

Comments

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cowboy
January 10th, 2014 | LINK

The week started with Utah Governor Herbert putting a “hold” on the celebrating. But the party is still going to happen.

We’re just not going to invite the Governor to the reception…and we might forget to send invitations to a few other people too.

enough already
January 10th, 2014 | LINK

It’s going to be awfully hard for Utah to argue that this was neither animus nor adherence to the LDS beliefs as opposed to the 14th Amendment.

Lord_Byron
January 10th, 2014 | LINK

By not recognizing the marriages as such the state is in fact acting as if the marriages are invalid. There is a difference between their example of states not recognizing marriages from other states and their refusal to recognize marriages performed in their own state.

I am really hopeful that the 10th will keep the ruling as is.

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