Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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December 22, 2013

Judge overturns Utah gay marriage ban

Dozens of couples rush to get licenses after ruling

(Continued)

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

Wedding 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 excited,” Morris yelled. “I love you.”

But at the Utah County clerk’s office in Provo, same sex-couples were 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 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.”

During the nearly four-hour hearing on the case, attorneys for the state argued that Utah’s law promotes the state’s interest in “responsible procreation” and the “optimal mode of child-rearing.” They also asserted it’s not the courts’ role to determine how a state defines marriage, and that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling doesn’t give same-sex couples the universal right to marry.

One of the other couples that brought the lawsuit, Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge, said they were elated.

“I’m just kind of in shock. My brother called and said, ‘When are you getting married?” said Wood, 58, an English professor Utah Valley University.

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Follow Brady McCombs at https://twitter.com/BradyMcCombs . Associated Press writers Paul Foy and Michelle Price contributed to this report.

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