Grand County will issue marriage licenses to gay couples
by Rudy Herndon
Staff Writer
Dec 25, 2013 | 4404 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.

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