Morgan County offices were closed Friday when U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby ruled that the 2004 Utah State Constitutional amendment defining marriage as only a legal union between a man and a woman was unconstitutional. He ruled that the amendment violates due process and equal protection under the fourteenth amendment. Salt Lake County immediately began issuing licenses. Others awaited direction from the state. Governor Gary Herbert expressed disappointment with the ruling and indicated that the state would appeal the decision. On Friday Morgan County Attorney Jann Farris was watching the news with the rest of the state. He sent an email the next day to the state requesting more time to get to the bottom of a few things before he issued an opinion on Morgan County’s stance. On Monday, Farris asked Morgan County Clerk Auditor Stacy Lafitte to hold tight on issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples pending the outcome that day of a hearing to stay the controversial ruling. There was no reason to rush and issue licenses for an hour, Farris said. Other counties such as Utah and Cache were playing the same waiting game. After the ruling in which U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby declined to stay his original ruling, Farris told Lafitte and the Morgan County Council he saw no legal reason to withhold or deny any same-sex couple a marriage license. By late Monday 22 of Utah’s 29 counties had indicated that they would begin issuing licenses. On Monday, Box Elder, Cache, Juab, Piute, San Juan, and Utah Counties were not issuing licenses. As of Monday, no same-sex couples have come forward to request licenses in Morgan. If someone came forward, a marriage license would be issued, Farris said. I am a small player in the whole argument, but I am not in a position to question a federal judge. I am not prepared to litigate the fact our county did not give a license.
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