Unless part of your holiday tradition involves turning off the TV and Internet, you've heard the news by now: On Friday, while many of us were staring at the clock on our computers, waiting to go home, a federal judge, seemingly out of nowhere, deemed Utah's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.
It's somewhat pathetic considering that I work in news, but there was no thought in my mind that this was something that could happen so quickly. I figured it would be many years and court cases before we'd see many of our fellow Utahns able to be legally married in this state. All I could do was stare at Twitter for a few hours as the news poured in.
But hundreds of gay couples who had been waiting for this moment—for months, for years, for decades—were not so slow to react. On Friday and Saturday, county clerk offices were crushed with people applying for licenses and getting married on the spot—and the response isn't letting up. I haven't been to any of the offices, but everyone I've talked to who has been has reported that it's an amazing, joyful scene.
This is a huge moment for Utah, and an even bigger moment for these couples. It's a big moment for those who oppose same-sex marriage, too—though the fact that it took till Saturday for an emergency stay to be requested by the state raises questions about just how much of an impact the decision actually had on those whose ability to be legally married wasn't changed Friday.
As I typed this blog, the same federal judge who struck down the ban on Friday denied the emergency stay on gay marriage that Gov. Gary Herbert requested, stating that the stay took too long to be filed. The status quo has changed.
There will still be court battles and drama ahead—currently, several county clerks are refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses. The state will certainly file an appeal. This is only the beginning of the story—and we'll be here for the whole journey. Reporter Eric S. Peterson has been at the Salt Lake County Clerk's Office since 7 this morning, talking to couples. Our brand-new reporter, Colby Frazier, was at the federal courthouse for news on the stay judgement. No matter what happens going forward, we'll be covering this issue full-bore—after all, with Swallow's resignation, we lost about 80 percent of our normal news topics.
So, let us know what you'd like to know about gay marriage in Utah. Updates from lawmakers? Wedding announcements from gay couples? Write your thoughts in the comments below, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. And you can always tweet us at @CityWeekly.
Photo courtesy Jackie Briggs. Drew Olsen and Len Rawlings were married this morning.