by Christopher Freeburn | January 9, 2014 10:13 am
On Wednesday the Utah governor’s office said that same-sex marriage licenses issued after a federal court overturned the state’s ban on same-sex marriages last month are essentially stuck in limbo.
The ruling stunned state officials, who sought to halt same-sex marriages while Utah appeals the decision. The U.S. Supreme Court granted the state a stay, stopping the issuance of any more licenses for same-sex marriage, while the appeals work their way through the courts, the New York Times notes.
About 1,300 couples have received same-sex marriage licenses since the federal court judge struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, the legal status of those marriages has been in question.
The governor’s office says that the same-sex marriage ban will remain in effect until the issue is resolved in court. The decision doesn’t actually void same-sex marriage licenses issued in Utah last month, but it does suspend them, meaning that the state won’t recognize them. Any benefits couples who obtained same-sex marriage licenses might have received are effectively frozen until the issue is resolved.
Utah’s appeal could ultimately reach the U.S. Supreme Court, which struck down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) earlier this year, but stopped short of legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide. A growing number of states have legalized same-sex marriage.
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