Utah’s GOP Governor Puts Hundreds of Legal Same-Sex Marriages on Hold

Herbert
Has anything like this ever happened before? After the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay on a federal judge’s ruling that same-sex couples have the right to marry in Utah, the state’s Republican governor, Gary Herbert, issued an order effectively divorcing, at least temporarily, as many as 1,300 couples who had legally obtained marriage licenses.

In California, after the Mormon Church in Utah effectively drove the passage of Proposition 8 in 2008, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, and Attorney General Jerry Brown, a Democrat — who is now the California governor — allowed the marriages of 1,800 couples to stand. Because of this, two classes of gay couples were created in the state: those who had legally married and those who were, as a result of Prop 8, prohibited from exercising that right. Prop 8 was later rescinded by court rulings.

(It should be noted that as governor, Schwarzenegger vetoed bills passed by the legislature that would have legalized marriage equality twice.)

Gov. Herbert’s decision to put a hold on the legal marriages appears to be motivated by politics — Utah is one of the most anti-gay states in the nation, which is saying a lot — rather than the law. The U.S. Department of Justice confirmed yesterday that it is reviewing the decision.

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