Grand County will issue marriage licenses to gay couples
by Rudy Herndon
Staff Writer
Dec 25, 2013 | 2632 views | 0 0 comments | 94 94 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After a Dec. 20 court ruling that struck down Utah’s same-sex marriage ban, Grand County Attorney Andrew Fitzgerald is advising the county clerk’s office to issue marriage licenses to “anybody.”

That definition could include anyone who is old enough to get married, regardless of his or her sexual orientation.

However, Fitzgerald said the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Grand County could change, depending on the outcome of the state’s motions for a stay of U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby’s decision.

In his ruling last week, Shelby found that Utah’s amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage “conflicts with the United States Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection.” Shelby wrote that Utah’s Amendment 3 “is unconstitutional because it denies the plaintiffs their rights to due process and equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

Shelby ordered the state to immediately stop enforcing its laws that restrict marriage to a man and a woman.

Fitzgerald told The Times-Independent on Dec. 22 that he is advising Grand County Clerk Diana Carroll to monitor the latest legal developments, which could be announced as early as Monday, Dec. 23 (after The Times-Independent’s Dec. 22 press time this week).

“After that, we don’t know [what will happen], but I guess we’ll see,” Fitzgerald said.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Acting Attorney General Brian Tarbet have taken their legal challenge of Shelby’s ruling to the federal 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

In the meantime, they have asked the district and appeals courts for temporary stays “in order to preserve the status quo” pending a final determination by the 10th Circuit.

Tarbet said in a Dec. 21 statement that Utah will bring a motion for a stay before Shelby on Monday morning, Dec. 23.

Herbert said in a statement that the ruling has created a “chaotic situation” that requires an expedited judicial resolution.

“Utahns deserve a fair and complete judicial process and I strongly encourage Judge Shelby to grant the Motion for Stay until the appeal can be heard and Utah’s constitutional defense of marriage restored,” he said.

However, newly married Castle Valley couple Mary Beth Fitzburgh and Leta Vaughn are hopeful that Shelby’s ruling will survive any legal challenges.

“Our love and commitment to one another is now legally protected, and it gives us certain rights and protections that mean everything to us,” Fitzburgh said Dec. 22.

Copyright 2013 The Times-Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

report abuse...

Express yourself:

We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.

Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.