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Editorial: Gay Utahns will survive this indignity

Gay Utahns have faced worse

First Published Jan 10 2014 05:56 pm • Last Updated Jan 11 2014 08:31 am

There are somewhere around 2,600 Utahns who entered into same-sex marriages during the two weeks it was possible in Utah. That means, statistically speaking, a few of them will die before the U.S. Supreme Court rules on Utah’s appeal of Judge Robert Shelby’s decision to strike down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

We raise this because, whoever the surviving spouses are, they will go through the humility of not being recognized as next of kin.

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Similarly, there will be a few who will develop serious illnesses or be injured and won’t have health insurance through their spouses’ policies.

And there will be some whose efforts to build stable families through adoption will be stopped.

These are law-abiding people — people who wanted to get married for a long time but had to wait until it was made legal, which it was.

The United States of America knows that, which is why the Justice Department announced that it will honor those marriages. "These families should not be asked to endure uncertainty regarding their status as the litigation unfolds," Attorney General Eric Holder said Friday.

But Gov. Gary Herbert won’t have it. He is still intent on denying them a civil right that the U.S. Constitution allows them to have.

Gov. Herbert put out a memo saying that, with a stay of Judge Shelby’s decision, the state will refuse to recognize marriages that are already performed, even the small handful of marriages that were performed in Utah.

People from the Duck Dynasty guy to Wednesday’s crowd at the Orem Golden Corral are clinging to the idea that these marriages would somehow hurt their own families and unravel society. They claim they’re getting this straight from God.

That’s not what God is telling others. There are people of all faiths who are saying that same-sex couples deserve the respect of law and the benefits of a legal commitment to each other. Many of those Utah couples were married by Christian clergy who feel the time for this has come.

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Utah’s gay and lesbian citizens have faced worse than anything their own state government can throw at them. They have survived bullying as children and discrimination as adults. They’ve faced struggles over their own yearnings in a society that pressured them to deny those yearnings, and they’ve emerged on the other side.

They shouldn’t have to endure another year of such treatment, but most of them will. There is no state right to hurt people, and the Supreme Court will make that clear eventually.

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

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