SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

December 21, 2013

Gay couples wed in Utah after judge overturns ban

(Continued)

“The momentum we are seeing is unprecedented in any human rights struggle,” Davidson said. “To have this fast a change in the law and in public opinion, is quite remarkable.”

State Sen. Jim Dabakis, chairman of the Utah Democratic Party, was the first to get married in Salt Lake City with his longtime partner, Stephen Justesen.

“Do you, Jim, take Steven, to be your lawfully wedded spouse?” the mayor asked during the ceremony, shortly before a celebration erupted.

Marriage ceremonies were being performed once every few minutes in the lobby of the clerk’s office, each one punctuated by hoots and hollers from the large crowd.

Brian Morris let out a loud yelp after getting married to his partner, who dissolved into tears.

“I’m so exicted,” Morris yelled. “I love you.”

But at the Utah County clerk’s office in Provo, same sex-couples were still being denied marriage licenses.

Patsy Carter, 42, and her partner of eight years, 39-year-old Raylynn Marvel, said they went to the office immediately after hearing about the ruling but the clerk said they office was still reviewing the ruling and consulting with the county attorney.

Carter said the ruling was still a positive step and she believes Utah County, considered one of Utah’s most conservative, will eventually have to start granting the licenses.

“If my marriage licenses could say, ‘Provo, Utah,’ that’s probably the most epic contradiction ever,” she said.

Utah’s lawsuit was brought by three gay and lesbian couples, including one that was legally married in Iowa and just wants that license recognized in Utah.

One of the couples that brought the case, Moudi Sbeity and Derek Kitchen, were roasting eggplants for a farmers market Saturday when their lawyer, Peggy Tomsic, called them with the news.

“We had a positive feeling after the hearing on Dec. 4, but it’s still a surprise to hear it,” Sbeity said. “We’re excited and happy and hopeful to see what happens what next.”

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