Hundreds of same-sex couples flood Salt Lake County Clerk's office to get marriage licenses after landmark ruling

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – Hundreds of same sex couples flock to the Salt Lake County Clerk’s office after a federal judge strikes down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage.

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – Hundreds of same sex couples flock to the Salt Lake County Clerk’s office after a federal judge strikes down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage.

In a 53 page document, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby ruled Friday the state's Amendment 3 violates the couple's rights to due process and equal protection under the U.S. Constitution.

Rather than protecting or supporting the families of opposite-sex couples, Amendment 3 perpetuates inequality by holding that the families and relationships of same-sex couples are not now, nor ever will be, worthy of recognition.”

As soon as Judge Shelby’s ruling came down the Salt Lake County Clerk began issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. Not only were marriage licenses issued, but marriage ceremonies were performed right then and there.

Right in the middle of the county building Senator Jim Dabakis and his partner of 27 years exchanged marriage vows.

"All Utah families are equal and special, that's the message,” exclaimed Dabakis.

Like Dabakis, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker had his doubts that he'd ever see this day in Utah.

"It's such an exciting, thrilling time when people who love each other have a chance to express their commitment legally, now that that can be done in Utah,” said Becker. “It's wonderful for those who hadn't had that opportunity."

One after the other marriage ceremonies were being performed all over the place; some in packed hallways, and many in front of television cameras.

Kody Partridge and Laurie Wood were amongst the three couples to file suit challenging Amendment 3. While they have previously exchanged rings Friday's decision and following ceremony made their marriage legal.

"At our age in a single relationship, I can be like my brother, she can be like her sisters and brothers that we're married and our family counts,” said Wood.

The Utah Attorney General's Office released this statement following the ruling. “The federal district court’s ruling that same-sex marriage is a fundamental right has never been established in any previous case in the 10th Circuit. The state is requesting an emergency stay pending the filing of an appeal. The Attorney General’s Office will continue reviewing the ruling in detail until an appeal is filed to support the constitutional amendment passed by the citizens of Utah.

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