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Obama Administration Announces That It Will Recognize Same-Sex Utah Marriages


The Obama administration announced on Friday that it would recognize over one thousand same-sex marriages as lawful, despite the State government’s opposition.

The decision, announced by US Attorney General, Eric H. Holder Jr, will afford same-sex couples with federal marriage benefits following the decision of a federal court judge in December 2013. In his landmark judgment just a few weeks ago, U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby observed that the State’s ban on same sex marriage conflicted “with the United States Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process under the law.” The learned Judge went further to opine that the State law denied ” 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.”

Following his ruling on 20 December, there followed a deluge of same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses across the state. The marriages continued until Monday this week, when the U.S. Supreme Court put a halt to same-sex marriages, rendering the already married same-sex couples in a state of limbo.

The announcement today by the Obama Administration, ratifying Judge Shelby’s ruling, comes following the seminal ruling of the Supreme Court in United States v Windsor in June 2013. Mr Holder confirmed that in respect of the 1300 same-sex marriages “that, for purposes of federal law, these marriages will be recognized as lawful and considered eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages.” The decision gives those couples who took advantage of the December ruling some sense of certainty regarding their status as the litigation continues.


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