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Utah’s action on gay marriages ‘puts my kids in jeopardy’
‘On hold’ » Couples who are applying for licenses or benefits must wait for a court ruling.

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But the governor’s choice wasn’t so clear in the eyes of others. Utah Democratic Party chairman and state Sen. Jim Dabakis says the Herbert’s directive was unexpected.

"This is the governor deciding unilaterally — taking all power to himself — to destroy more than 1,000 loving marriages and leave hundreds of children without two parents," he said. "On a whim. It’s outrageous."

At a glance

Love Elevated — a mass reception for Utah’s same-sex marriages

QSaltLake, Le Croissant Catering, X96 and UtahGayWeddings.com are teaming to host “Love Elevated,” a celebration of same-sex marriages that occurred in the 17 days since U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby’s ruling. The all-ages event will be held Saturday at The Rail Event Center, 235 N. 500 West, with donations going toward Restore Our Humanity — the group that funded the lawsuit. Doors open at 6 p.m.

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Dabakis says he and partner Stephen Justeson waited 27 years to be legally married in the state they call home, and joked that "they can take that wedding certificate out of my cold, dead hands." Shelby’s Dec. 20 ruling rendered legal all of the marriages that occurred, Dabakis says, and the state is overstepping its authority by refusing to recognize those marriages.

"Stay means stop," he said. "It doesn’t mean, go back and change history. Those were legal, lawful marriage licenses given by the state of Utah."

Brigham Young University law professor and Amendment 3 co-author Lynn Wardle had not yet read Herbert’s letter but said there is some merit to Dabakis’ argument that a stay does not apply retroactively.

"At the same time, I would also say that the governor’s position is pretty valid," he said, adding that it took courage for Herbert to take a position that is unpopular in some pockets.

Wardle said he feels the state will win on an eventual appeal to the Supreme Court — "The 10th Circuit is too insecure to not do what they think is the latest trend" — but that people who were married while Shelby’s order was in effect were following the law of the land.

"I tend to believe that you have to rely on the law, even if it’s a bad law," he said.

But he doesn’t have much sympathy for them, personally.

"The opportunists who have lined up to get marriage licenses, they knew what they were doing," he said. "It’s a political act. It’s designed to create headlines and generate attention."

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