Utah’s newly-appointed Attorney General will today issue an opinion on the status of the more than 1300 same-sex marriages that have already taken place.
The opinion, which is expected to be presented to Governor Gary Herbert on Wednesday, will determine if the state provides services to legally wed same-sex couples pending the appeal. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to stay same-sex marriages in Utah pending an appeal of Amendment 3 has placed hundreds of couples in a legal gray area. After the Dec. 20 decision declaring it unconstitutional, Governor Gary Herbert directed state agencies to offer services in compliance with a federal judge’s order. But now that the Supreme Court justices have stayed the request, many agencies are wondering if they still must comply. “Many couples are calling me wondering if they’re still married and wondering what the legal implications are for their tax returns,” said Clifford Rosky, a University of Utah law professor and chairman of the board of the gay rights group Equality Utah. “Some of them have already begun adoption proceedings and they don’t know whether to go forward. It’s a complicated and stressful situation for more than 1,000 families.”
Regardless of the opinion, lawsuits will surely result.