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Utah to Pay $95,000 in Legal Fees for Same-Sex Marriage Benefits Case

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Photo courtesy ACLU of Utah
Plaintiffs Matthew Barraza and Tony Milner with their son

The legal fight over same-sex marriage has come to a close in Utah. The state Attorney General’s Office has agreed to pay attorney’s fees for the plaintiffs in the Evans versus Utah case.

The legal battle is over for four same sex couples seeking spousal benefits. They were married last December in a 17-day period when such unions were legal in Utah. In an order signed by US District Court Judge Dale Kimball, the state of Utah has agreed to pay $95,000 to the ACLU and lawyers who represented them. A preliminary injunction forcing the state to recognize same-sex marriage was also made permanent. John Mejia, Legal Director for the ACLU of Utah, says they had originally sought more money but they are pleased with the settlement.

“Our clients are very glad that the preliminary injunction has been made permanent,” Mejia says. “We’re happy that the case is closed and they can go on with their lives as married couples.”

The Evans vs. Utah case was closed in October — just days after the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear a separate same sex marriage appeal by Utah and four other states, effectively making such marriages legal. In total, staff at the Utah Attorney General’s office says they have spent more than $500,000 on same sex marriage cases.

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