Brittney Rohde, 23, and Patricia Nelson, 34, of Brigham City, were the first same-sex couple to obtained a marriage license at the Box Elder County clerk’s office on Thursday, Dec. 26. Friends and family, including their two children, Zayne Nelson, 10, and Hayzil-Cobain, 2, were in attendance.
On Friday, Dec. 20, federal judge Robert Shelby issued a ruling striking down two Utah laws and a constitutional amendment on the marriage statute, opening the door for same-sex couples to become legally married in Utah.
Box Elder County decided not to issue same-sex marriage licenses until further legal clarification was received. County Attorney Stephen Hadfield said, “If she (the county clerk) were to do that (issue the license) she would be in violation of a state law but if she doesn’t then she’s in violation of the federal judge so we were stuck between a rock and a hard place. We didn’t issue at that time because we needed more information.”
After review and guidance from Hadfield the clerk’s office decided to begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses on Thursday, Dec. 26, in order to follow the federal mandate.
While the couple has followed the debate on same sex marriage it was their mother, Mellisa Rohde who has followed it closely, keeping them updated. “I knew everything before they did,” said Mellisa. “I was glued to my computer. I don’t think it’s right to deny anybody any right that they should have.”
Mellisa heard Box Elder County had decided to begin issuing these licenses on Christmas night. The second she heard the news she tagged Brittney and Patricia on Facebook, telling them the wedding would be tomorrow. The couple of six years was thrilled and Brittney replied, “What time do you want us there?”
The couple was happy to hear Box Elder County was issuing these licenses. “We were set on doing it in Box Elder County this is where we live, this is our home,” Patricia said.
See the rest of the story in next week’s paper