On Christmas day, I blogged about New Mexico becoming the 17th state to recognize same-sex marriage. Oddly, very conservative Utah became the 18th state to do so when a federal judge ruled on December 20th that a Utah constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage violated the U.S. constitution. The state did not originally seek a stay of the order pending appeal, allowing same-sex marriages to commence in Utah immediately upon the handdown of the order. When the state did ask for a stay, the U.S. District Court and then the U.S. Court of Appeals denied the stay. However, on January 6th, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the order of the District Court, pending the outcome of the appeal of the District Court’s decision on the merits to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. So, at least for a couple weeks, same-sex marriages were being performed all across one of the most conservative states in the country. So, Utah joined the list of states in which same-sex marriage is (or has been) allowed (in order of recognition), as the 18th state:
- New Hampshire
- New York
- Washington (state)
- Rhode Island
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
(In addition to the states listed above, the District of Columbia allows same-sex marriage.)
Even though the state of Utah recognized and performed those same-sex marriages for over two weeks, it now has put its recognition of those marriages on hold until the outcome of the court battle. Despite Utah’s non-recognition of those marriages, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stated the United States will recognize the marriages performed in Utah during the two-week window as valid, since they were valid in Utah when performed.
This week, I am at the Heckerling Institute in Orlando. I’ll discuss some of the highlights in next week’s blog.
Stephen C. Hartnett, J.D., LL.M.
Associate Director of Education
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (858) 453-2128