As Gay Wedding Frenzy Hits Utah, State Seeks Emergency Stay of Ruling

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 21 2013 12:00 PM

As Gay Wedding Frenzy Hits Utah, State Seeks Emergency Stay of Ruling

1387645020
Couples line up to get marriage licenses in the Salt Lake County Clerk's office on Friday

Photo by Seth Anderson (@jsethanderson)

Talk about being a party pooper. As same-sex couples in Utah lined up until late in the evening to get a marriage license minutes after Judge Robert J. Shelby declared the state’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional, the state requested an emergency stay and filed a notice of appeal. The Salt Lake County Clerk’s office was a scene of joy late Friday, when the government building appeared to become a sort of marriage emporium as weddings were performed in hallways and the lobby long after the office was scheduled to close, reports NPR.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert was not moved, saying he was "very disappointed an activist federal judge is attempting to override the will of the people of Utah.” Lawmakers in the state that is home to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints had passed laws to forbid marriage between same-sex couples and in 2004 voters approved a constitutional amendment restricting marriage as between a man and a woman. But the myriad of restrictions on same-sex couples are unconstitutional, Shelby ruled. "The state’s current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason,” he wrote. The ruling “is the first federal decision on a state law banning same-sex marriages or denying recognition of legal same-sex marriages since the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision this summer that struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA),” notes the Salt Lake Tribune.

Advertisement

If the ruling stands, Utah would be the 18th state to allow members of the same sex to get a marriage license, points out the Associated Press. Yet so far at least it doesn’t seem like every County clerk’s office was willing to quickly get in the equality spirit. As scenes of joy filled the Salt Lake County Clerk’s office, others, including the Utah County clerk’s office in Provo denied marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.

Jurisprudence

Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 16 2014 2:35 PM Germany’s Nationwide Ban on Uber Lasted All of Two Weeks
  Life
The Vault
Sept. 16 2014 12:15 PM “Human Life Is Frightfully Cheap”: A 1900 Petition to Make Lynching a Federal Offense
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 16 2014 1:39 PM The Case of the Missing Cerebellum How did a Chinese woman live 24 years missing part of her brain?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 8:41 PM You’re Cut, Adrian Peterson Why fantasy football owners should release the Minnesota Vikings star.