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Rolly: A same-sex marriage in a Mormon temple?

By PAUL ROLLY

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Jan 09 2014 09:18 pm • Last Updated Jan 10 2014 09:42 am

For all of the fuss about U.S. District JudgeRobert Shelby’s decision allowing same-sex couples to marry in Utah and Gov. Gary Herbert’s refusal to recognize the more than 1,300 marriage licenses issued before the Supreme Court stayed the ruling, these weren’t the first such unions conducted in the Beehive State.

In fact, Utah’s first recorded same-sex marriage occurred more than 20 years ago in, of all places, the LDS Church’s Salt Lake City Temple.

At a glance

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Of course, the Mormon official performing the rite in 1993 didn’t know he was uniting a same-sex couple already wed in a civil ceremony inLyman, Wyo., in 1991.

But Felix Urioste, and his mate, Bruce Jensen, were "sealed" in the temple for time and all eternity while Urioste was posing as a female under the name of Leasa Jensen.

Shortly after the temple ceremony, Urioste left the relationship after spending up to $40,000 on Jensen’s credit card, according to court records and news reports at the time.

Jensen claimed he didn’t know Urioste was a man and married him/her after Urioste claimed to be pregnant.

Urioste eventually pleaded guilty to reduced counts of communications fraud and forgery. And the marriage was annulled.

So, sham or no sham, at least there is a precedent.

Speaking of precedents » Some things never change.


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In the famous Western novel "Riders of the Purple Sage," written by Zane Grey in 1912, the notorious gunslinger Lassiter is trying to persuade the southern Utah woman he loves to leave her Mormon roots and go with him.

A quote on Page 230 could have been describing the southern Utah of today, particularly the town of Virgin.

"Come with me out of Utah," Lassiter says to Jane Withersteen, "where I can put away my guns and be a man."

Her last big shot »Some lobbyists are wondering what to do after receiving an invitation to a Jan. 21 fundraiser for House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo.

The $750-per-person event, featuring blue grass music and barbecue fare at Noah’s in South Jordan, is Lockhart’s last chance to raise serious campaign cash before the Legislature convenes Jan. 27 since lawmakers cannot raise money during the session.

Here’s the problem for lobbyists: Lockhart, who already has more than $200,000 in campaign funds, already has announced she is not running for re-election to the House. It’s common knowledge she is considering challenging Herbert for the Republican nomination in 2016. Once the session is over and she is a lame-duck legislator, her power to help or hurt lobbyists wanes dramatically. But she will have enormous power over lobbyists’ issues during the 2014 session, so not going to the fundraiser could be detrimental to their careers.

On the other hand, if they attend the fundraiser, they risk offending Herbert, who knows he is being targeted by Lockhart.

Best to leave town for a week.

He’s baaaaack » I wrote a couple of times in 2012 about what a pain in the neck Sterling Rasmussen was to me, although it wasn’t his fault.

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

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