- The Washington Times - Friday, October 10, 2014

A Utah Republican frustrated by the Supreme Court’s failure to act on several states’ appeals of gay marriage said one way to address the confusion is to create a new term for the same-sex unions: Call them “pairages.”

State Rep. Kraig Powell has encapsulated his view in a bill to work on the matter, filed just hours after the Supreme Court refused to act on a handful of same-sex marriage-related appeals.

“Utah code doesn’t have a chapter heading called ‘Marriage,’” he said, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. “It is actually titled ‘Husband and Wife,’ and all the statutes on marriage refer to ‘husband and wife.’ So we have a lot of work to revise statutes and have many details to decide.”

He suggested coining the term “pairage” to help with the new coding that must be put in effect at the state level, due to the Supreme Court’s inaction, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

“For example, in the case of a married woman who is pregnant, state law now presumes that her husband legally is the father,” Mr. Powell said, the Tribune reported. “What should apply in the case of two women who are married? Should the partner be presumed to have parental rights? What about the rights of the biological father? Are there any? Those are the types of things we need to work through.”

He said “pairages” could be used to describe those partnerships where “they do not have the ability to produce a child” biologically on their own, the newspaper reported.

Mr. Powell also said that the Supreme Court’s inaction basically “kicks the ball back to state legislatures” to decide how to proceed on gay marriage, and states like Utah could face “what can be many years of tinkering with marriage laws,” the Tribune reported.

But Utah Sen. Jim Dabakis, who is openly gay and married, cautioned against redefining state laws to water down gay-marriage rights.

“Anyone who is saying we can twist the wording of state law into anything other than full complete equal marriage is going to be in for serious disappointment,” he said, the Salt Lake Tribune reported. “Clearly there is a number of issues that need to be worked out. But there is a framework there and the framework is for equality.”

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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