SALT LAKE CITY (TheBlaze/AP) — A day after a judge's surprise ruling overturned Utah's same-sex marriage ban, Utah officials slammed the ruling and scrambled to seek an emergency stay to halt licenses from being issued.
"I am very disappointed an activist federal judge is attempting to override the will of the people of Utah," Gov. Gary R. Herbert said in a statement. "I am working with my legal counsel and the acting Attorney General to determine the best course to defend traditional marriage within the borders of Utah."
It's unclear if and when a judge would grant the stay.
Chris Serrano, left, and Clifton Webb embrace after being married, as people wait in line to get licenses outside of the marriage division of the Salt Lake County Clerk's Office in Salt Lake City, Friday, Dec. 20, 2013. A federal judge ruled on Friday that Utah's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. (Image source: AP/Kim Raff)
Elise Larsen, left, and Samantha Christensen, right, show off their marriage license after being one of the first same sex couples to receive one at the Salt Lake County Clerk's Office in Salt Lake City, Friday, Dec. 20, 2013. A federal judge struck down Utah's same-sex marriage ban Friday in a decision that marks a drastic shift toward gay marriage in a conservative state where the Mormon church has long been against it. (Image source: AP/Kim Raff)
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which The Salt Lake Tribune said remained on the sidelines during the district court process, broke its silence Friday.
"The church has been consistent in its support of traditional marriage while teaching that all people should be treated with respect," said spokesman Cody Craynor. "This ruling by a district court will work its way through the judicial process. We continue to believe that voters in Utah did the right thing by providing clear direction in the state constitution that marriage should be between a man and a woman, and we are hopeful that this view will be validated by a higher court."
Mormons for Equality called the ruling a "thrilling" confirmation of the right to civil marriage; The Human Rights Campaign called it a recognition of "fundamental equality" while the National Organization on Marriage said the decision was a "travesty of justice" and an example of "vetoing the voters from the bench," the Tribune reported.
At least one county clerk intended to open early Saturday to issue licenses. A couple hundred people showed up at the Weber County Clerk's Office but were later turned away because of security concerns.Clerk Ricky Hatch issued a letter of apology and said he was also told it would violate constitutional guarantees of equal protection if he opened for special circumstances.
More than 100 same-sex couples rushed to wed in Salt Lake County after the ruling Friday.
Here's a report from KUTV-TV in Salt Lake City: