Target: Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes
Goal: Stop discrimination against married same-sex couples
According to a federal judge, Utah must allow same-sex couples to receive spousal benefits with regards to adoption, child custody cases, and medical decisions. Despite this ruling, Utah was successful in asking for a stay that would allow the state to not recognize same-sex married couples, thus, preventing them from accessing their benefits.
In December 2013, close to 1,300 same-sex couples were wed during a 17-day period when the ban on gay marriage was not in effect. Many of these couples expected to receive benefits after the 10th District Court of Appeals voted in their favor. Despite the ruling, Utah demanded a stay on the issue that would expire July 21. Then, the U.S. Supreme Court granted another stay that would not acknowledge the same-sex marriages that occurred during the interim period in December, preventing these couples from then acquiring their benefits on July 21.
The two issues of the constitutionality of gay marriage and the granting of benefits to same-sex couples in Utah have become intertwined, making it hard for the state to make any progress until the U.S. Supreme Court makes a ruling on gay marriage. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court offered to only review the issue of gay marriage after one or two more appeals are filed, which would push the timeline back to 2015.
As a result, as long as the U.S. Supreme Court waits to review the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, many of the gay couples in Utah who were married in December 2013 remain without the same benefits that are granted to heterosexual couples. By signing the petition below, you demand Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes and other Utah officials to lift the block on the decision offered by the 10th District Court of Appeals and grant benefits to same-sex couples.
Dear Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes,
Although the 10th District Court of Appeals ruled in favor of granting spousal benefits to the 1,300 same-sex couples that were married in December 2013, you demanded that a block be placed on these benefits until the U.S. Supreme Court offers their opinion on gay marriage.
A decision from the U.S. Supreme Court will not come in the near future, and in the meantime these couples who were legally wed are unable to file for adoption, receive medical benefits, or access their rights in child custody cases. It is unfair to cast these couples into such uncertainty as a result of state officials requesting stays without explaining their reasoning.
For this reason, I ask you to allow these same-sex couples who were legally wed to access their spousal benefits immediately, regardless of a Supreme Court decision that could take months to be finalized.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jim Urquhart via Reuters