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Judge won’t stop the weddings

Courts » Most counties hand out marriage licenses to same-sex couples while state asks appeals court for stay.

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Meanwhile, hundreds of same-sex couples resumed obtaining marriage licenses on Monday. In Salt Lake County, a record-setting 477 marriage licenses were issued since Friday, mostly to same-sex couples.

But not all counties were complying with Shelby’s order. Several declined to issue licenses Monday, indicating they wanted to see how Shelby ruled on the state’s request for a stay.

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The judge, upon hearing of this in court, explicitly said his ruling allows all people the "fundamental right" of marriage. He said counties, and officials, who do not comply are breaking the law.

"My intent is to prevent the state of Utah — or anyone acting on its behalf — from denying same-sex couples the protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution." he said.

In Utah County, the clerk’s office was not issuing same-sex marriage licenses even after Shelby ruled, and they turned away at least three couples.

Utah County Clerk Bryan E. Thompson told The Salt Lake Tribune he would wait to see how the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled on Shelby’s decision before deciding how to proceed.

This uncertainty and confusion, state officials said, would be aided by a stay that would afford the state time to determine how to proceed.

As of late Monday, the plaintiffs had filed a response in opposition to both stay requests from the state.

"[The state asserts] that permitting same-sex couples to marry will create ‘uncertainty’ and threaten ‘the democratic process in Utah.’ But the democratic process is strengthened, not threatened, when courts vindicate the fundamental rights and liberties of citizens," according to the response, written by attorney Jennifer Fraser Parrish. "The immediate implementation of marriage equality will not harm the state in any way. Appellants can simply apply its existing marriage laws and administrative structures to same-sex couples.

No new laws, procedures, or administrative requirements are necessary and the county clerks can simply issue marriage licenses as they do in the regular course of their business."

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The 10th Circuit Court did not immediately rule on the state’s requests.

In a statement following Shelby’s refusal to halt same-sex marriages, the governor declared he was disappointed but not surprised.

"Typical wisdom would have had, with the order of last Friday, a stay to accompany with it," Herbert said. "It clearly was going to be appealed, no matter what the decision was, it would be appealed by either side. So the process will move forward, that’s the democratic process."


Twitter: @Marissa_Jae

Tribune reporters Jim Dalrymple II, Jessica Miller, Robert Gehrke, Erin Alberty and Matt Canham, as well as Donald W. Meyers and Robert Boczkiewicz, contributed to this story.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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