Utah Policy/KSL Insider Survey: Amendment 3 ‘On Hold’

Recognition of those same-sex marriages performed in Utah before the Supreme Court issued a stay in the Amendment 3 case are “on hold” while the appeals process moves forward. We asked our Political Insiders and readers if that was the proper course of action, or whether Gov. Gary Herbert is inviting more litigation against the state with the move.

Selected anonymous comments:

“It’s legally required by the stay that was granted… but it’s asinine and despicable.”

“Of course they should not be recognized, they never should have been allowed in the first place!”

“This is certainly uncharted territory, so only time will tell if this direction is best or not. But at the the very least, it’s the most efficient course for the time being.”

“The law simply doesn’t and shouldn’t allow a governor to overrule a federal judge. Besides, now of all times is the time to act with grace and generosity, especially for those who oppose gay marriage essentially on religious grounds.”

“This is why it was extremely unwise of Judge Shelby not to stay his ruling, knowing the State would appeal it and knowing the legal chaos it would create both for the a State and for gay couples. Regardless of how this issue is ultimately decided, it highlights the need for more temperate judges on the bench.”

“The marriages were performed under a court ruling that was under appeal. If a higher court reverses that lower court’s decision, the marriages were performed pursuant to an invalid ruling. The marriages will also be invalid. The governor therefore had no other valid course in the matter.”

“It’s hurtful and harming not only to the adults involved, but their children. Where are the Utah so called ‘family values’ not to recognize this type of family?”

“Absolutely he is doing the right thing! Those ‘marriages’ never should have been allowed in the first place. Sin is still sin, even if one stupid activist judge tries to make sin legal!”

“Equality has human rights on its side against bigotry.”

“A stay reverts to the prior law. Patience is the key here. Let the discussion and legal debate begin so that it is properly vetted before a final ruling is made.”

“The law is the law, and more importantly this was a people enacted law. He is doing the right thing. We have enough people in elected office that check polls before they act.”

“Given the second paragraph of Amendment 3, it is the proper course of action. I would expect that the marriages would be recognized outside the state in those states that recognize same-sex marriage, but with the law ‘back to where it was’ the second paragraph of Amendment 3, which says that Utah will not recognize any type of domestic union that is not a man-woman union as a marriage, is the law of the land. It would be the same if a couple married in California came here – they would not be recognized as married. Until the USSC strikes it down (and I do think that it will eventually be struck down), Utah can continue to discriminate against same-sex couples. A very sad state of affairs.”

“Herbert has no real desire to follow the law. He is a spineless Governor who got his spot by proxy.”

“As a gay attorney, I recognize Herbert’s instruction as legally correct and morally corrupt. Ten years ago, we warned Utah voters that Amendment 3 ‘goes too far.’ That second clause, which has even made insurance carriers hesitate to cover domestic partners, cruelly prevents the state from recognizing marriage equality until the whole blunder that is Amendment 3 is declared unconstitutional.”

“These marriages are marriages no matter what the bigots in Utah say. If they are not recognizing those, they should not recognize ANY marriages.”

“How about we talk about what really matters: Human kindness. Decency. I do not support Gary Herbert politically but I know him and have always respected him as a good and fair man. I am so saddened by this action. I love this state and have thought it capable of being bigger, and greater. It isn’t.”

“While many will want to blame the Governor, for the ‘legal limbo’ in which some Utahns find themselves, blame Judge Shelby. If Utah’s constitutional amendment is eventually upheld, there is a very solid legal argument that marriages performed after Shelby’ order but before the stay were void ab initio-i.e. never legal in the first place. The responsible course of action for Judge Shelby would have been to stay his order pending appeal as other judges have done in same-sex marriage cases, including in California over Prop. 8.”

“His LDS backers should be ashamed. Have Mormons always been this mean?”

“It’s the proper course of action with Republican delegates, even if the state is sued, Herbert wins with his delegates.”

“How does the State move forward without knowing if the marriages are indeed valid. Emotions run high on this issue but it is reasonable and prudent to wait.”

“Governor Herbert advised state agencies to follow the law, both after the district court decision and the Supreme Court stay. Directing government to follow the law was the right thing to do.”

“At the time those marriages were performed, they were legal – why should he not recognize them?”

“The Governor has followed the law every step of the way. With the stay in place, Utah law requires state agencies to refrain from performing or recognizing same sex marriage – regardless of where or when the marriage was performed and regardless of any individual’s opinion of the law.”

“This just turned their $2M fight into an open-ended money sucking litigation explosion. A stay did not necessitate not recognizing the legal marriages. Now the state will be fighting two battles.”

“Judge Shelby’s hubris put the Governor and the newly married couples in a horrible position.”

“Here come the lawsuits. Being an ignorant bigot can be expensive!”

“Predictable safe political move for him but was it based on legal advise from AG? Legal bills keep piling up.”

“You cannot begin to imagine the boycotts that we will suffer because our Governor made such an aggressively hateful move. How this will effect Outdoor Retailer or Sundance or just regular tourism has yet to be seen. Considering Arizona lost tens of Millions over their immigration bill, I fear what an LGBT boycott will do to our state.”

“History is repeating itself. Utah was the state that put Prohibition repeal over the top. In 2015, SCOTUS will uphold Shelby’s decision which will legalize gay marriage nationwide.”

“People compare this situation to California, but it’s different. California didn’t have a constitutional provision that prohibits the recognition of same sex marriages.”