Utah conservative caught off guard

Judge overturns state's same-sex marriage ban.
Associated Press
Dec 22, 2013

A day after a judge's surprise ruling overturned Utah's same-sex marriage ban, at least one county clerk intended to open early Saturday to issue licenses.

About 40 minutes north of Salt Lake City, about 300 hundred people showed up at the Weber County Clerk's Office on Saturday afternoon but were later turned away without marriage licenses.

Clerk Ricky Hatch apologized and said that county officials had told him that opening for special circumstances may violate constitutional guarantees of equal protection. Hatch told The Associated Press he was also told that the county's standard security requirements were not in place for a Saturday opening.

The confusion Saturday and reports of other crowds scrambling to find an open office illustrated how gay marriage caught many in Utah off guard.

On Friday, more than 100 couples rushed to wed in Salt Lake County shortly after the ruling was released. State officials slammed the decision and moved to stop licenses from being issued.

The state has given notice that it will appeal the ruling and has asked for an emergency stay to stop gay couples from getting marriage licenses. But legal experts say that even if a stay is granted, the licenses that have already been issued will likely still be valid.

For now, a state considered as one of the most conservative in the nation has joined the likes of California and New York to become the 18th state where same-sex couples can legally wed.

Utah is home to the Mormon church, which was one of the leading forces behind California's short-lived ban on same-sex marriage, Proposition 8, which voters approved in 2008.

"For something like this to happen in Utah is mind-boggling," Nathan London said Saturday as he and his boyfriend planned their wedding. "I'm sure they're going to fight it tooth-and-nail."

The 28-year-old from Cottonwood Heights and 34-year-old Alan Britton were among the dozens of waiting couples turned away in Salt Lake City on Friday even though the county clerk's office stayed open for an extra two hours and issued licenses to more than a hundred couples after U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby's ruling.

London and Britton said they planned to spend the weekend finding wedding rings. London said they would return around 6 a.m. Monday to wait for a license and marry "while we still can."

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, said in a statement Saturday that the ruling "has created a chaotic situation" in the state. He urged Shelby to grant a motion to stay the decision until the state's appeal can be heard.

Acting Attorney General Brian Tarbet said his office would bring the stay motion to Shelby by 9 a.m. on Monday. If the judge doesn't immediately rule, state officials would also ask the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to grant the stay.

Shelby, a recent appointee by President Barack Obama, said Utah's ban violated the constitutional rights of gay couples and ruled that Utah failed to show that allowing same-sex marriages would affect other marriages in any way. GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch recommended Shelby for appointment in 2011.

Carl Tobias, a constitutional law professor at Virginia's University of Richmond who has tracked legal battles for gay marriage, said Saturday that Shelby's ruling was "fairly strong" and the judge seemed to indicate he didn't think the state had a good case.

Tobias guessed if an emergency stay is granted, it could come as early as Monday or Tuesday and stop the gay couples from getting licenses.

As the appeal plays out, he said a final decision on gay marriage in Utah is at least months down the road.

Clifford Rosky, a law professor at the University of Utah and board chairman with Equality Utah, said that until there is a stay — if there is one — Utah is obligated to continue issuing licenses to same-sex couples.

"Any county clerk who refuses to do so is violating a federal court order, and could be held in contempt of court," Rosky wrote in an email late Friday.

As news of the ruling spread Friday, a surge of couples descended on the Salt Lake County clerk's office to secure marriage licenses, waiting in line by the dozens and getting married on the spot by the mayor and ministers. Couples and their loved ones broke out in tears and cheers as their ceremonies were completed.

In southwest Utah, two gay couples received marriage licenses from the Washington County clerk's office before it closed Friday, according to The Spectrum of St. George.

Local clerks in other areas waited to hear from county attorneys before issuing licenses.

Hatch said the Weber County attorney's office did not tell them until late Friday night that they could issue the license.

At the Utah County clerk's office in Provo, several same-sex couples were turned away on Friday.

Arlene Arnold, 60, said she and her partner of 20 years rushed over but were denied a license.

"I was infuriated," Arnold said Friday. "And thought, as I watched the young, heterosexual couples sitting there, I thought, 'How does it feel to have straight privilege?'"

Arnold still said it was "history in the making."

"I didn't think in my lifetime I would ever see same-sex marriage approved in Utah," she said.



the unsilent majority's picture
the unsilent ma...

Im ok with them allowing gay marriage, thats equality but rushing down to open the office to start issuing them a license instead of making them wait like heterosexual couples is special treatment.


I’m with Phil.




More people showed support for Phil in 24 hours than signed up for Obamacare in its first few months.


Earl`s rep0rt is neat, I just bought a top of the range Subaru Impreza from bringing in $9215 recently and more than 10-k this past munth. with-out a doubt this is the best work I've ever had. I actually started five months/ago and right away started bringin in over $71... per hour. look at more info http://ow.ly/s06n5


Polygamy is next.

The U.S. even partially fought a "war" over its rejection of the practice.


Capt. Ford

Never understood polygamy.....It's hard enough to please one woman.

Stop It

Amen, brother.

Stop It

Heh...I was from Sandusky Co. when my wife and I got married...a weeks wait if we went that route in that Co...she was from Shelby Co. and we went there. Walk in walk out 1/2 hour later with license in hand. Married the next day in Huron Co.

AJ Oliver

As I used to suggest to my students, the solution here is quite easy, if you don't like gay marriage, just don't marry a gay person. And note that the righties who want a small gummint that is "off our backs", are the same ones who want to inspect what's going on in our bedrooms, and supervise women's bodies. Ya just cannot do that and have a small government at the same time!!


Re: "righties who want a small gummint,"

Yea, socialist lefty regimes NEVER tell their citizens what to do or how to live their lives. lol


Give AJ a break it took years of brain washing while working in liberal academia for him to get this way.


Supervise womens bodies? Sounds like that's right up obamacares ally, you moron. When another life is involved it is everyones duty to protect an innocent child, even if the mother wants to murder him/her. Gays would be farther ahead if they didn't have freaking PDA's and quit dancing around with G strings in "pride parades". The militant minority is making people dislike them.


Sugar...let me ask you a question, are you married, or do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend? If so, do you ever kiss or hug your husband/boyfriend or wife/girlfriend in public? If you say that you have NEVER EVER EVER kissed or hugged your significant other in public, I would find that almost impossible to believe!!...The reason I ask, is because I want you to explain to me, why it is OK for you, an obvious heterosexual, to have public displays of affection, but not for a gay person????.....And I don't know too much about the pride parades, as I have never been to one, but I'm pretty sure that the majority of the participants do not parade around in their G strings!!!!...And if they DID, why should it matter to you??...Maybe I get tired of going to a public beach with my kids and seeing all the heterosexuals parading around in their G strings and bikinis!... Except, I DON'T!!!... You know why? Because they don't affect me or my family, so what they do in their own time is their business, NOT mine!! If more people would get in the mindset of not worrying about how others live their life, THAT'S how the gays would get "farther ahead" as you say!!!!....And not everyone who has an abortion necessarily WANTED to have an abortion, so you are the one who is the moron here!...Sometimes it is medically necessary for a person to have one, but AGAIN, it is that woman's body, NOT yours!!! You are probably one of the ones who screams about people being on welfare and using your tax money to raise their kids! WHO is going to take care of the millions of extra kids who are born to either parents who can't afford to raise them, or parents who can't even grow up enough to take care of themselves, let alone a child!?!?! My personal belief is that I don't support abortion, unless it is medically necessary, but do I try to interfere with another woman's decision about HER body, about HER life???..NO, I don't!!!! People need to just STOP worrying about everyone else and worry about THEMSELVES!!! If you are so holier than thou, then why don't you adopt some kids that are in the system right now, or go out and feed and clothe all the homeless people? Oh, I forgot, THAT isn't your responsibility right?? Its also NOT your responsibility to tell another person how to live their life!!!


Hetero's aren't marching in public spectacle's half naked and acting like freaks. If homosexuality isn't a mental disorder then why do many of them act that way. If you want respect go about your life and keep what goes on in your bedroom quiet. Don't dance around half naked in a fairy suit and then expect people to like you.


This is just a common misconception about gays! I'm not saying that you may have never seen a happy gay person flaunting their homosexuality, you probably have! But to lump ALL gay people in your little "fairy suit" statement is not a fair nor a correct judgement of gays! I am now gay, used to be straight, and myself and the gay people that I know, do NOT float around like little fairies on a unicorn with glitter coming out of its a**!! I am a regular, normal, everyday person, who just happens to be more happier than I have EVER been in my life, being with a woman instead of a man!...I had my fair share of heartache and drama dealing with men over the years, and let me tell you what, my girlfriend treats me better and loves me more than ANY man ever has!!..So WHAT is so wrong with that?? Is my happiness and the happiness of my kids not enough for people to realize that it shouldn't matter who you love, as long as you are treated with respect and dignity?? I sure am glad that my family and true friends accept me for who I am, not what I am "labeled" as!


I agree.


It is unfortunate that democracy is leaving this country. The voters of that state filed all of the appropriate paperwork and took time to collect enough signatures to get this on the ballot. The ban won by a huge landslide. Then a newly Obama appointed judge felt compelled to rule against the majority. Again, our freedoms are slowly going away.


Mike, you talk about "our freedoms are slowly going away!" Please tell me, how the freedom of same sex couples to marry each other is taking any of YOUR freedoms away???....Oh, I'm sorry, you are speaking about your freedom to vote against same sex couples having the same freedoms as you???..If that's not a hypocrite then I don't know what is!!..It shouldn't even have to BE on a ballot for others to be able to vote against one person loving and marrrying another!!...What if all us gays start petitioning and voting against the right for heterosexuals to get a divorce!?!?! Would YOU like it if the homosexuals had the ability in their hands to tell you whether or not you could get a divorce??? I mean after all, it is YOUR freedom to get married and divorced, even though divorce is a sin in the Bible just as much as homosexuality is!!! What if YOU and all the other heterosexuals didn't have the right or the freedom to divorce???...There sure would be a lot of unhappy households in the US then huh!?!...I don't understand WHY two gay people getting married affects any of you who are against it!!...If you don't like gay marriage, then simply don't get one!!...The HETEROSEXUALS are the ones who keep having all these GAY babies, maybe we should ban heterosexuals!!!!!....

Pterocarya frax...

"Ban heterosexuals". +5 !!!




Nasty,intolerant gays, posting right before my eyes. lol


The only nasty intolerant one here is you Sugar!!..If you believe that you won't be judged on judgement day for your judging of others, then you better get prepared sweetie!!!

Dr. Information

Lover the sinner, hate the sin. So because a few think gay marriage is ok, we all have to accept it? That isn't the way the world works. Democracy is more like Democrazy, because the liberals do not like what the masses say and go crazy until they get their way.


Dr., there are way more than "just a few" who think gay marriage is OK. I'm not trying to change anyone's minds or their thoughts on what they think as an individual! What I am trying to do, as an INDIVIDUAL, is to get people, like yourself, to understand that it's not really about what the majority or the minority like, or even believe in. It's about the fact that every INDIVIDUAL should have the choice to decide what is right for THEMSELVES! Am I trying to convince straight people that they should be gay or be in a gay relationship? No, I could care less what anybody else chooses to do with his or her own life, that is the beauty of being an INDIVIDUAL! You CAN keep your beliefs if gay marriage is accepted and standardized in all states, just quit trying to push "straight" onto gays, as you would most likely be offended if we tried to push "gay" onto straights! We are not saying that you MUST understand and agree with our choices, only that you TRY to put the shoe on the other foot and ask yourself how you would truly feel if the tables were turned! Can you honestly answer me if I asked you, "If gay marriage was the legal one, but YOU weren't gay, and straight marriage was the illegal one, would YOU fight for YOUR right to be in a straight marriage??" That is all that gays are looking for, is just the acceptance for who we love, without all the hate, labels, and criticism that comes from those who are against it. I would also like to remind everyone that hate and intolerance are LEARNED! NOT ONE person is born with hate in their heart for those around them, it is something that is TAUGHT, by parents, families, friends, HUMANS!! Just like not ONE person is born a racist at heart, every human being learns hate and intolerance based on his or her upbringing and surroundings. If you died tomorrow, would you be happy and content with what you have taught your children about what is right and what is wrong in life? Would you be happy watching down on them and seeing the hurt and pain that they cause to people who might be different from them? I'm just saying, I know that the whole world will NEVER agree on everything all of the time, again, that is the beauty of individualism! Can't we start teaching our children and the future generations of this cruel cruel world how good it feels to show love, compassion and empathy for others? Isn't it time for the world to accept that everyone is not the same? Again, let me reiterate one more time, us gays are not saying that heterosexuals HAVE to agree with the choices that homosexuals make, just that they try to be a little more understanding! :)

Capt. Ford

Please forgive as this is not a personal attack, I applaud the choice of Pterocarya frax. look it up.


I could care less about what you do between the sheets. Want to pound it then go ahead. If you read and comprehend what my post referenced you would realize it is the democratic process. This could apply to any particular new law that had been enacted following proper protocol and then overturned because an over zealous person wanted to leave a legacy.


Two really good posts, Imalley77. Especially like the "The HETEROSEXUALS are the ones who keep having all these GAY babies..." line; I never thought of that argument before!

I doubt that you changed any minds in here - the lack of empathy in this country is pretty amazing - but good luck to you and keep fighting the good fight.


Phil says “The only thing a man should blow is a Duck call!”


Thank you Tore down!! And you are right, I haven't changed anybody's minds about the way they think, its just so sad that we still live in a world where hate and unacceptance of what other people do with their own lives still exists! These people who are SO against gays, probably have a relative who is still in the closet, because they know if they come out they will be bullied and disrespected by their very own family!! It makes me feel SO proud when I see governers and lawyers and even preachers who were once so against homosexuals change their way of thinking and actually support their family member who is gay! It just completely boggles my mind as to WHY it is SO hard for some people to just let others live their lives the way they see fit! Maybe the ones who are SO against it are the ones who have secretly had homosexual thoughts, so they fight so hard to make other people miserable because they feel so ashamed for having those thoughts! Who knows!?!? I don't really care what anyone thinks of me though, because I am happy, my kids are happy, and what they say about me doesn't affect my life!! They are MISERABLE and I am HAPPY, so I have already beat them! ;)