U.S. Recognition of Same-Sex Marriages in Utah Sparks Conservative Backlash

The announcement by Attorney General Eric Holder that the U.S. would recognize the marriage licenses of same-sex couples in Utah has sparked conservative backlash.  The Heritage Foundation has come out in support of a House bill that would require the federal government to respect state laws on gay marriage.


A federal court recently overturned Utah’s ban on same-sex marriages.  Gay couples in the state rushed to get married, and some 1,300 did. The state government, though, has said that they won’t recognize those marriages.

On Friday, Holder said that the federal government would recognize the Utah marriages as a court battle over gay marriage continues.  That recognition includes giving federal benefits to same-sex couples.

That move has dismayed the right-wing Heritage Foundation, who is pushing a bill in the House that would require “the federal government to look to the laws of the state where citizens reside to determine the definition of ‘marriage,’” as the foundation wrote in a blog post. The "State Marriage Defense Act of 2014" is being marketed by the Hertiage Foundation as a "bipartisan" bill. 

“Redefining marriage will entail high social costs. Thus all Americans should insist our laws embody the truth about marriage. And the federal government should respect it when state laws do so,” the Heritage Foundation’s Ryan Anderson wrote.

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