Utah wins delay in recognizing same-sex marriages

Utah officials for the time being do not have to formally recognize hundreds of same-sex marriages performed earlier this year, after the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday granted the state's request for an injunction.

Gov. Gary Herbert and Attorney General Sean Reyes had told the justices the issue of whether the state's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional remains pending in the lower courts.

Having to recognize those same sex marriages before the larger legal questions are fully decided, said the state, would be too disruptive.

Once the constitutional issues are fully resolved --- likely by the Supreme Court in the next year or so -- both sides in the debate "will know the status of the interim marriages. Until then, requiring [the state] to recognize plaintiffs' marriages and provide marital benefits is premature and unwarranted," said the appeal.

In a one-paragraph order, the high court agreed. But that temporary action does not signal what the justices will ultimately think about the larger constitutional issues raised by gay and lesbian couples seeking a right to wed.

A federal appeals court late last month ruled Utah's voter-approved Amendment 3 violated the equal protection rights of same-sex couples. The law currently defines marriage only between one man and one woman.

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