"Anyone who is saying we can twist the wording of state law into anything other than full complete equal marriage is going to be in for serious disappointment," he said.
Dabakis also noted that several laws that have been found to be unconstitutional in the past have technically remained on the books without being enforced, and he sees little need to vastly rewrite marriage laws extensively now. He said full marriage rights can simply be extended to gay couples.
Powell said that may be easy with some issues — such as tax benefits, health care insurance and inheritance laws — but may create problems in such areas as parental rights.
"For example in the case of a married woman who is pregnant, state law now presumes that her husband legally is the father," Powell said.
"What should happen in the case of two women who are married? Should the partner be presumed to have parental rights?" he asked. "What about the rights of the biological father? Are there any? Those are the types of things we need to work through."
Powell said he is even thinking of coining a new term besides "marriage" to deal with such issues in state law, called "pairage" for same-sex pairs. He said that's "because they do not have the ability to produce a child" biologically by themselves, and therefore create some different issues than heterosexual couples.
He said laws for parental rights and children may, or may not, need to be different for "marriage" and "pairage."
In short, Powell says the new court decision "kicks the ball back to state legislatures" to decide many issues. He adds it could lead "to what can be many years of tinkering with marriage laws."
Dabakis said there is no need to rush into decisions.
"Clearly there is a number of issues that need to be worked out," he said. "But there is a framework there, and the framework is for equality."
He added that he is confident that gay marriage cannot be weakened through legislative action because court rulings have "been clear, so nitpicking is not going to be successful. If we get to that, it's just going to be more wasted taxpayer's money on inconsequential issues that the state will lose."
This year while the gay-marriage issue worked through the courts, legislative leaders put a hold on legislation dealing even remotely with it — including a bill sponsored by Sen. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George, seeking to prohibit housing and employment discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Utahns.
With the court battle over, such issues now may also be debated again.