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Gov. Gary Herbert said Thursday that he would not officiate the marriage of a same-sex couple, based on his personal beliefs, although he has not been asked to do so.
"I would probably respectfully decline. It's not something I would want to do," Herbert said during a news conference Thursday.
Herbert is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which opposes same-sex marriage.
The governor said that, while he has the authority to perform marriages in the state, typically when he has been asked, it has been as a courtesy and there are others besides him who could conduct the ceremony.
"I'm not obligated to do it necessarily," Herbert said. "It's not like a clerk."
Pending House legislation would allow county clerks and others to refuse to marry gay couples if it violates their religious beliefs against same-sex marriage, provided there are others who can perform the service.
A bill released Wednesday, sponsored by Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper, would go further, preventing anyone from being compelled to do anything that might infringe on his or her religious beliefs, unless it is shown to be critical to protect public health or safety.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in Utah since last October, when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case on the constitutionality of Utah's ban on such unions. Utah's constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriages was struck down by a federal judge in December 2013, and the appeals court sided with the judge.
House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, who can also perform marriages under Utah law, said he wouldn't have qualms officiating a same-sex marriage, although he never has.
"I don't have a problem with it," Hughes said. "If i was asked, I probably could act within the responsibilities I have without pause. That's me."