Utah

A group of current and former Republican lawmakers say they support making same-sex marriage legal in Utah and Oklahoma because it's consistent with Western conservative values of freedom and liberty.

A group that includes former Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming and former Sen. Nancy Kassebaum of Kansas plan to file a friend of the court brief Tuesday to a federal appeals court in Denver that is reviewing same-sex marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma.

Utah's Republican governor has announced he wants to reject a full Medicaid expansion, and instead seek federal dollars to cover the poor.

Gov. Gary Herbert made the announcement Thursday afternoon, saying the state has an obligation to cover the poor by plugging a hole in the safety net.

The governor, who is one of the last in the country to announce a decision, is generally opposed to the federal health law but says his decision will help people pay for health coverage in the private market.

"Attorney General Eric Holder announced Friday that the federal government will recognize the 900-plus same-sex marriages that took place in Utah during the two weeks when such unions were legal," NPR's Nina Totenberg writes for us.

That means those couples "will be eligible for all federal benefits," NPR's Carrie Johnson adds.

In a statement, Holder says that:

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

A federal judge has struck down Utah's same-sex marriage ban, saying it is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby issued a 53-page ruling Friday saying Utah's law passed by voters in 2004 violates gay and lesbian couples' rights to due process and equal protection under the 14th Amendment.

Shelby says the state failed to show that allowing same-sex marriages would affect opposite-sex marriages in any way, and the state's unsupported fears and speculations are insufficient to justify deny allowing same-sex marriages.

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