Utah will not recognize, for now, same-sex marriages that were performed since a federal judge struck down a ban on gay unions in the state in a ruling that the U.S. Supreme Court later put on hold, the Utah governor's office said on Wednesday.
"Based on counsel from the Attorney General's Office regarding the Supreme Court decision, state recognition of same-sex marital status is ON HOLD until further notice," the statement said.
Utah temporarily became the 18th U.S. state to permit gay marriage when U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby on December 20 sided with three same-sex couples in a lawsuit challenging a voter-passed amendment to the Utah constitution that defined marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman. Roughly 1,400 gay and lesbian couples have wed across the state since the ruling.
The U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay on Monday, pending appeal of the ruling, preventing new same-sex marriages from being performed in the state. Following that decision, married same-sex couples who wed after Shelby's decision expressed concern the state might not recognize their marriages as valid.
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Shelby's ruling had jolted many of Utah's 2.8 million residents, nearly two-thirds of whom are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which teaches that traditional marriage is an institution ordained by God.