Individual Rights

Federal judge orders Utah to grant benefits to gay couples

A federal judge has ordered Utah officials to grant benefits to more than 1,000 gay couples who married before the U.S. Supreme Court issued an emergency stay.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit in January on behalf of four couples who said the state's decision to freeze benefits violated their rights.

The couples cited concerns such as having a partner legally recognized as a child's second parent.

More than 1,000 gay and lesbian couples married in Utah in December after a federal judge overturned the state's same-sex marriage ban. Those weddings came to a halt when the Supreme Court granted a stay.

Utah officials argued that they had no choice but to hold off on benefits until an appeals court rules on the state's same-sex marriage ban.

U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball disagreed in his ruling Monday.