Tuesday, January 7 2014, 09:50 PM MST
Married Same-Sex Couples in Limbo
(KUTV) Couples who were married after a December 20th court ruling scrapped the ban on same-sex marriage in Utah, are now in limbo.
The U.S. Supreme Court granted the state of Utah a stay on the federal ruling while it appeals the decision to the 10th circuit court of appeals in Denver. While same sex-marriages in the state are now on hold, it is not clear what the State will do about the 1,000 or so marriages that did take place legally before the stay was imposed.
"They wanted to prevent 'irreparable harm' but they have now caused it," said recently-married Preston Perry, referring to the state's argument against same-sex marriage. Perry, along with his husband Leighton Hilburn were married on December 23rd, after camping out all night long outside the Salt Lake County Clerk's office. On that day, hundreds of same-sex couples were married.
After the stay was granted, Utah's new Attorney General Sean Reyes said he was preparing to hire an outside law firm to help with arguments for the 10th circuit court hearing while trying to figure out what to do about the couples who have marriage licenses. "It is unfortunate that many Utah citizens have been put into this legal limbo, but we are evaluating their legal status currently," he said.
While those marriages are legal, the State is not giving those couples marriage benefits - like joint filing status on state tax returns. The State Tax Commission tentatively has the issue on its agenda for Thursday January 9th.
Soon after they were married, Preston Perry went to the Social Security Administration to change his name. "I wanted to take my husband's name," he said. At the counter, a clerk at the Social Security office told him they were not accepting the marriage license. Last week, the Social Security Administration's regional office in Denver sent this response to an inquiry made by 2 News. The response was e-mailed on Friday, January 3rd:
"Social Security is reviewing the Utah district court decision issued on December 20, 2013, which has been appealed, to determine its effect on Social Security policies. We continue to work closely with the Department of Justice to develop and implement additional policy and processing instructions. In the meantime, we encourage individuals who may be eligible for Social Security benefits or name changes to apply now. We will process claims and name change requests as soon as instructions become finalized."
By Cristina Flores
(Copyright 2014 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)