Utah says it will fight same-sex marriage recognition

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Attorney General’s Office filed notice Wednesday night that it will appeal a federal judge’s order that it recognize more than 1,200 same-sex marriages.

The filing obtained by FOX 13 gave notice that the state intended to ask the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to decide if it should offer state benefits to couples who married after Amendment 3 was overturned by another federal judge.

Read the filing here:


Missy Larsen, a spokeswoman for Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, told FOX 13 a formal appeal will be filed with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver on Thursday.

Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Dale Kimball ordered the state of Utah to recognize more than 1,200 same-sex marriages performed after Amendment 3 was declared unconstitutional in December. Four same-sex couples and the ACLU of Utah sued the state after Governor Gary Herbert ordered agencies not to recognize the marriages while it appealed the Amendment 3 ruling.

Since Judge Kimball’s ruling, the state has gone back and forth over whether to appeal. In remarks to FOX 13 last month, Governor Herbert wondered if it “was worth our time.” The governor recently came under fire for comments he made about homosexuality.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals could rule any day now whether to uphold U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby’s ruling that Amendment 3 was unconstitutional. The state has said in court filings that if it prevailed, it would seek to invalidate the same-sex marriages performed in Utah.

In an analysis of marriage records conducted by FOX 13, just over 1,200 same-sex couples married during the 17 days before it was halted by the U.S. Supreme Court, pending the appeal of Amendment 3.

Same-sex marriage estimates in Utah

The Utah Attorney General’s Office tells FOX 13 it will ask the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to issue a stay, allowing the state to not recognize the marriages while the appeal is pending.

RELATED: Court documents in the Amendment 3 appeal

RELATED: Complete coverage from FOX 13 on the Amendment 3 appeal


  • Trish Ramirez

    What a hateful, hateful state this is.
    Oh well, it’s a losing battle they are fighting anyway, and they are only making themselves look absolutely archaic and ridiculous.
    Ultimately, the Supreme Court is going to demand that LGBT marriage be legalized and recognized in Utah and across the country, and these legislators will have wasted taxpayer money and legislative time on absolutely nothing but their own hateful prejudices.
    I have a feeling that this is happening simply to turn the public’s attention away from the scandal’s surrounding our last couple of Attorney General’s.
    Go figure.

    • Bob

      Those who look for beauty find it, and those who look for hate are not dissappointed. There are hundreds of thousands of decent men, women, and children in Utah who seek to make this world a better place for having been here.
      The LGBT community seeks the tolerance from others that they fail to demonstrate themselves.

      • Bonnie J Mheshe

        Bob, Tolerance does NOT mean allowing personal abuse and discrimination. Utahns forget their right to thro a punch ends at someone else’s nose. They are right-fighters because they’re in fear of change folding their house of rickety cards. I had their fear thrown all over me (handicapped = “special spirit” = not equal) until I moved. Now, Utah money comes to me (salary), but none of my tax money goes to that hateful, dying state.

      • Bob

        Oregon is a beautify state. I hope you like it there. Reading behind the lines of your comment BONNIE J MHESHE I detect dissatisfaction and unhappiness that runs deep within yourself. It is human nature to want to deflect responsibility for that unhappiness unto others.

        The person looking for beauty in Oregon (or Utah) will find it while those looking for something ugly in those states will achieve their goal.

  • Barbara Ryan

    This state would rather come between two people who love each other and want to make a committment to each other than to provide lunch for all school children, provide health care for those who cannot provide it for themselves, or fund more HeadStart programs. There a number of other places our tax dollars can go to rather than wasting them on something as unimpactful as this. Where are our priorities as a state????

    • Bob

      It isn’t our responsibility to feed and cloth your children Barbara Ryan. If you’re mentally or physically handicapped we’ll be glad to support your children but if you are healthy and able bodied we expect you to stand on your own two feet and take care of yourself and your kids.

      Kids, Barbara, are a little like puppies. Don’t get one if you can’t afford to feed it and clean up after it.

  • reality

    I’m proud of utah. As the morals/values of society continue to deteriorate, it’s good to see our state not cave to the whims of the vocal minority.

    Call us bigots, haters, or whatever you may…But our ancestors settled this Valley and created this state because they were persecuted/martyred for what they believed. If you don’t like what this state stands for, you are more than welcome to reside elsewhere.

    • mat m

      You sound just like the people in Missouri who told your ancestors to leave. How the hypocrisy of the situation escapes you is beyond me.

      These people have more in common with the pioneer spirit of your ancestors than you ever will.

      • Hardtaill

        MAT M,

        Boy, have you got it all wrong.

        Maybe you better go back and do a little homework you forgot to do.

        Hang in there, son. In twenty years, you might just understand it.

      • trollolol

        Yet another liberal drawing horrible comparisons. There was nothing wrong with the suggestion that other states have different values. There was no threat, no malice. I see the remark more of pride for the state itself and the desire to keep the state unique as it is.
        How quick you libs get your panties in a knot when someone has a different view is hilarious

      • Bob

        Come back and let us know when you can point out where people in the State of Utah have asked homosexuals to leave. Common sense suggests that there is a basic difference between driving people from their homes and defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

    • Bonnie J Mheshe

      Actually, there were already groups of settlers in the area, not to mention, native communities. Young gave up getting to Oregon, his diarrhea was too bad, so, Mormons ended up bullying their way into Utah. I’m glad they did; Oregon is beautiful.

  • Burgi

    Stop. Wasting. My. Money! Okay, Reality? Let me give you a bit of a reality check. It’s not a minority anymore. I’d be interested to see where public vote would come in on this law today, rather than continuing to defend an outdated one. Why don’t we do that? That would “fix” the debate for a lot less money, right? And as far as your ancestors who settled this state? Mine did, too. I’ve got a detailed geneology as well. But let me get this straight; our ancestors were driven out of their homes by religious persecution and now you feel it’s acceptable to do the same to others? You are not a good Mormon. You are a hypocrite. People like you are part of the MANY reasons I left my ancestor’s religion.

    • trollolol

      Hate to break it to you, but it still is a minority. If the vote would happen again, it would be heavily in support of traditional marriage. This agenda is rallying the conservatives, pushing many to fight and take stances. I’m sorry your faith (or lack thereof) was altered by the influences of people. Btw, there is far more hatred and bigotry towards Mormons (or any theist) from the LGBT community than the converse.

      Look how quick you were to attack, reality only suggested you could go elsewhere if you don’t like utah, never did he/she demand anyone must leave. yet you quickly call him a bad Mormon. Sounds like you need to look at yourself before you judge others! HYPOCRITE!

    • Bob

      Yeah Burgi it’s a small but vocal minority. Mother Nature gets it wrong sometimes but for the vast majority they get it right, and just like the plumber knows what is supposed to go where and why. No one is trying to drive you out of the State of Utah so drop the phony oppression ploy. It just isn’t going to get you any traction.

  • Chris Sim

    Everyone has a right to believe what they want. What people don’t realize is that they DON’T have the right to tell people what they can and can’t do in their lives. You may not agree with homosexuality but the moment you start controlling what a person can or can’t do or who they can marry and who they can’t, then other people have a right to do the same to you. If “God” is real and the bible is real then that must mean when he said he loves everybody unconditionally that must be real as well. Everybody includes homosexual people. If you cant consider them equal to us all then why should we treat you as equals?

  • Destiney

    Instead of fighting the inevitable, why not clean up some of the cities in Utah? After living there for 6 months the mountains are beautiful to look at, but the pollution was disgusting. The sacred temple downtown in Salt Lake City was lovely, but the hundreds of homeless people all over really took away from the scenic beauty at night especially. There are far bigger things in this world to worry about and quite frankly religion is not something that anyone person should base their hatred for anyone else on. Every Sunday many flock to donate money to the church and I hate to be the bearer of bad news it’s not wiping anyone’s slate clean, at this point the church is accepting blood money and shame on anyone that stands behind their good Christian morals for hate. I expect to be attacked for these comments, but instead soak it in and really consider the possibilities of what being a true Christian means.

    • Bob

      Defending morality has never been popular, but that doesn’t equate it with hatred. The big homosexual myth is that they believe in monogamy. They overwhelmingly reject the type of relationship most heterosexuals think of when they think of marriage: a long-term relationship where sexual activity is strictly limited to one’s marriage partner.
      The LGBT community seeks tolerance from others but have none for those who don’t buy in with their ideas. Why is that?

      • Brandon Taylor

        Bob, I’m sorry, but a generalization that all homosexuals equals don’t believe in or practice practice monogamy, is simply not true.

        I don’t sleep around every weekend, and I certainly wouldn’t dream of cheating on my significant other if I were in a steady relationship. I know for a fact that there are many others like me. Yes, there are people which happen to be homosexual which sleep around, cheat on partners, etc., but guess what, there are those type of people in the straight community as well. Thanks for trying to unfairly demonize and cast an entire group in a bad light.

      • Bob

        I used the word “overwhelmingly” Brandon. That implies the vast majority. Yes, there are exceptions, and yes, sadly there are far too many heterosexual men and women who fail to honor the vows they make at the alter.
        Does it bring them happiness? No.

    • BigDP

      Just because Christians DISAGREE with homosexuals doesn’t mean they HATE them. Those two words are completely different. Not once have I ever heard from a Christian church leader that hate was ok in any circumstances. But the lgbt community constantly talks about hate hate hate. Guess what, if disagree and hate mean the same thing, then the lgbt community is just as intolerant and hateful towards Christians as they say Christians are to them.

  • Monte

    What-ever the courts decide for the children of the states Plural Families can be extended to the children of the states same gendered couples and that will be OK

  • Mark Snuff

    And yet spouse abuse in straight couple marraige has a blind eye turned on it because, you know, Utah. FYI Bob, it’s about safety; and consent. Coitus with your family is illegal because it represents an inbreeding hazard to your children; And if the partner cannot consent, it’s illegal(children, animals,…tables)

  • Monte

    Don’t think they have gotten the full grasp of it all yet – – all the marriage restriction laws are unconstitutional lacking a compelling rational to enforce a restriction . . That is ALL of them
    We can ban close blood opposite gendered marriage – – Consanguinity – – the state wants to ensure that those who decide to have children will not bear children with someone closely related to them, to guard against birth defects that could occur in the aggregate. They can be thrown into jail even – but that’s the only restriction that can actually be imposed as a “Concrete Harm” can be shown to exist . . The close blood same gender marriage restriction – unconstitutional
    Bigamy – unconstitutional

    Now the push is to move this to the USSC – see if they desire their legacy to be one that legitimised close blood same gender marriage [as they would be required to do] or return the issue of marriage to the states and the people of the state – –

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