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Same-sex couples denied Utah marriage licenses in court order’s wake

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"Our commitment is to follow the law … we basically go back to the pre-Dec. 20 days," Gill said. "Right now, what the sate of the law in the state of Utah is now, is you cannot perform that marriage."

Anderson pointed out that whichever side wins at the 10th Circuit, the case likely will go to the U.S. Supreme Court. And that, he thinks, could take a few years.

At a glance

How many same-sex couples were married?

There’s no definitive number for same-sex couples married in Utah since U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby’s landmark ruling.

For starters, the licenses only have fields for “bride” and “groom.” In larger counties that have issued hundreds of licenses since Dec. 20, all they can do is estimate.

Calling all 29 counties, The Tribune compiled a total of 1,324 — with a significant flaw: It excludes Utah’s second-most populous county.

Utah County Clerk Bryan Thompson simply refuses to hazard a guess.

“This was all supposed to be about equality,” says Thompson, who notably denied marriage licenses for five days after Shelby’s ruling while he sought legal clarification. “There wasn’t supposed to be any differentiation between heterosexual and homosexual marriage licenses.”

The most licenses were issued in Salt Lake County, at 800, followed by Weber (about 175), Davis (about 150), Washington (58) and Summit (41) counties.

Other county totals include: Tooele (28), Grand (13), Cache (12), Box Elder (10-12), Uintah County (9), Carbon (5), Wasatch (5), Iron (4), Kane (3), Sanpete (3), Duchesne (2), Juab (1), Millard (1), San Juan (1), Sevier (1) and Wayne (1).

Seven counties did not issue a same-sex marriage license, according to county workers: Beaver, Daggett, Emery, Garfield, Morgan, Piute and Rich.

— Matthew Piper

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"People were so shocked we had marriage ... that a good number of people that were ready took action," Netto said. "Frankly, I think we’re winning, and I think we’re winning in a major way. … I see these interim skirmishes as an opportunity to sharpen our swords and figure out what to do next."

When Marina Gomberg heard the ban on same-sex marriage had been struck down, she left work early and rushed to the Salt Lake County clerk’s office with her partner, Elenor Heyborne.

Though she’s disappointed by the stay, she said, "this doesn’t invalidate what took place over the last couple weeks here, and it can’t diminish the commitment of loving same-sex couples. I sort of feel like this is part of the process of change, and we have to be patient and hopeful."


Twitter: @matthew_piper


Twitter: @lwhitehurst

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