Federal Government Will Recognize Utah Same-Sex Marriages

The federal government will recognize the marriages of 1, 360 gay couples in Utah who wed during the 17 days same-sex marriage was legal. The announcement was made by attorney general Eric Holder, who cited last June's ruling in U.S. vs Winsdor, which ruled gay and lesbian couples are entitled to legal protection and equal treatment.

"I am confirming today 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,” Holder said in a video posted to the Justice Department's website. "These families should not be asked to endure uncertainty regarding their status as the litigation unfolds."

Good news. Unfortunately it's still unclear how Utah views gay couples' marriages, even after a memo sent out today.

"Based on our analysis of Utah law, the marriages were recognized at the time the ceremony was completed," wrote Utah attorney general Sean Reyes, according to Equality on Trial. "While the validity of the marriages in question must ultimately be decided by the legal appeals process presently working its way through the courts, the act of completing and providing a marriage certificate for all couples whose marriage was performed prior to the morning of January 6, 2014, is administrative and consistent with Utah law. Therefore, it is recommended that county clerks provide marriage certificates to all persons whose marriages were solemnized during this period as an administrative function and not a legal function. This would allow, for instance, same-sex couples who solemnized their marriage prior to the stay to have proper documentation in states that recognize same-sex marriage."