From full cooperation to flat-out refusals, counties vary on same-sex marriage stance

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Salt Lake County issued a record number of marriage licenses Monday.

County Clerk Sherrie Swenson says since Friday nearly 500 couples have married.  They poured into the county clerk's office by the hundreds.  The line stretched around the building.

But some wonder how long will gay marriage remain legal in Utah.

"In a way it's sad because we had to get married today because our rights could be taken away tomorrow and that was our honest fear," said Kelvyn Brock.

As of Tuesday afternoon, six of Utah's 29 counties had not issued same-sex marriage licenses.

Cache County original refused to issue marriage licenses, closing the clerk's office Monday. A statement was posted on the door saying the clerks are sorting through legal confusion,  waiting to see if these marriages are put on hold for an appeals process.

"If a stay is granted and the state prevails then all of these things transpiring now will be undone, they'll be void," said Cache County Executive Lynn Lemon

Haley Simpson and Karlee Dickson wanted to marry but couldn't.

"I think it's silly,” said Simpson.  “It's kind of confusing.  They say Cache County issuing marriage licenses and it's closed?"

Joe Fonohema & Jennifer Miller were last in line to get their marriage license at Salt Lake County.
Utah County turned them away.

"I can't understand why,” said Fonohema.   “My whole family is for it and they're very, very LDS."

Sevier County is also now issuing marriage licenses.

If a county isn't issuing same-sex marriage licenses are they breaking the law?  The ACLU says yes, a family law attorney says that's questionable.

"It's up to the county attorney's and the county clerks to decide what they're going to do so there's really been a lack of direction at the state level to tell the clerks what they should or shouldn't be doing," said family law attorney Tanya Peters.

"The judge didn't speak to county clerks in particular but it's very obvious from the ruling," said John Mejia, Legal Director of the ACLU of Utah.

Mejia says the ACLU is watching the counties that are not issuing same-sex marriage licenses and there could be legal ramifications.

1 Comment

  • Alice Neilson

    How is a same sex marriage hurting a straight person? It has no affect on your life or the lives of your loved ones…unless they are gay. It does not infringe on your personal lives in any way. Not every one has the same religious belief system that you do. I don’t see atheists not being allowed basic rights. Twenty years ago interracial marriages were treated in much the same way. Times change, people. No one is asking you to like it or to even approve of it. But the courts are saying it can be done as a basic civil right. What happened to “judge not, lest ye be judged” and “love thy neighbor”? Try practicing what you preach and show a basic tolerance to people that may not believe the way you do.

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