Attorney General Reyes, Governor Herbert, Respond to Hold on Same-Sex Marriages

Sean Reyes - Photo Credit: PoliticIt
Attorney General Sean Reyes (Republican) – Photo Credit: PoliticIt

In a brief press conference Monday morning, newly appointed Attorney General, Sean Reyes informed the press and public of the offices plan in light of the Supreme Court’s decision to put a temporary hold on Judge Shelby’s decision to overturn Amendment 3.

“The state will submit a brief [to the court] by January 27th” Reyes told the media, “state statues affected by the decision [related to Amendment 3 and same-sex marriage] are now back in place.”

Reyes says the legal status of the more that 900 same-sex marriages performed in the state are currently in “legal limbo” and that the AG’s office is currently in the process of considering the legal implications of these marriages. Some legal experts say the young Attorney General is incorrect, however, and almost-thousand marriages performed will remain legal. John Mejia, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah, says “Though future marriages are on hold for now, the state should recognize as valid those marriages that have already been issued, and those couples should continue to be treated as married by the federal government.”

Granting the stay does not indicate how either the 10th Circuit Court or the Supreme Court itself will actually rule on the case, it simply puts a temporary hold on things while the process works itself out. Governor Herbert and the state legislature have already 2 million taxpayer dollars to their quest to once again deny same-sex marriages in Utah.

Surprisingly, given the harsh criticism the Attorney General’s office has taken for mishandling the request for the stay, Reyes said today that although he is considering bids from outside legal firms, the office is attempting to avoid outside council at this time. Last week, a help-wanted ad went out from the AG’s office, searching for any outside attorneys or firms who had any experience with such a case.

Governor Herbert also released a statement today, saying he feels the Supreme Court was correct in its decision to place a hold during the appeals process, and that “Utahns deserve to have this issue resolved through a fair and complete judicial process. I firmly believe that this is a states-rights issue and I will work to defend the position of the people of Utah and our State Constitution.”

Those upset by the Supreme Court’s decision were quick to respond.

“Despite today’s decision, we are hopeful that the lower court’s well-reasoned decision will be upheld in the end and that courts across the country will continue to recognize that all couples should have the freedom to marry,” said Joshua Block, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project, Monday morning.

LGBT activists in Utah are already calling for unity in light of the Supreme Court’s decision.  Activist Troy Williams said in a tweet “Now is the time to bring our A-Game. Utah’s LGBT community needs to be united like never before. No egos, no turf wars. Is everybody ready?”







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