Same-sex couples break marriage records in Utah; state to appeal ruling to U.S. Supreme CourtAround the Nation, Editorial, Online Only, Top Highlights Friday, December 27th, 2013
The number of marriages in the state of Utah have broken all records since a federal judge overturned Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage a week ago.
According to a report in The Salt Lake Tribune, as of close of business Thursday, more than 1,225 marriage licenses had been issued in Utah since last Friday and of those, at least 74 percent were issued to gay and lesbian couples.
The weddings have also had a beneficial financial effect on the states’ 29 counties accruing thousands of dollars in revenue. With an average marriage license costing $40, counties in Utah made a grand total of more than $49,000 in the three-and-a-half days most county clerk’s offices were open this week.
“It’s been really dramatic,” said Weber County Clerk Ricky Hatch, who doled out 144 marriage licenses since Monday in an office that typically averages about eight per day. “I would guess on Monday we were seeing 90 percent same-sex couples. It’s dropping back now to where it’s a lower percentage.”
“It’s definitely more than we usually see,” said Brian McKenzie, Davis County’s elections director who estimated the office would typically see between 45 and 60 couples in the same amount of time near the holidays. “We’re not counting same-sex couples any differently than opposite-sex couples. We treat them all the same: Enter their names into the computer and then move on and help the next couple in line.”
However, CNN reports that Utah officials will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court a lower-court ruling allowing same-sex marriage in the state.
Newly appointed Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes will seek a stay of the federal judge’s ruling after state officials consult first with outside attorneys over the next few days.
“It is the intent of the Attorney General’s Office to file with the Supreme Court as soon as possible,” the attorney general’s office said in a statement.
The emergency appeal, when filed, would go to Justice Sonia Sotomayor because she has jurisdiction over appeals from Utah and nearby states. She could rule on the state’s application herself or ask the entire nine-member court to weigh in.
Sotomayor is likely to refer the Utah request to the entire court, as is tradition with high-profile traditional cases, said Carl Tobias, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Richmond.
Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=43737