A Federal Court Rules That Utah’s Ban On Same-Sex Marriage Is Unconstitutional


Yesterday we learned the happy news that the state Supreme Court of New Mexico ruled that same-sex marriage is now LEGAL in that state and today we learn that a federal judge has just ruled that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Unless the ruling is overturned on appeal, Utah will become the 18th state in the US to legalize same-sex marriage … which is really significant if you consider how religious and conservative Utah is. This the first instance of a federal court judge ruling in favor of same-sex marriage since the US Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional last June. Read on to learn more about the case that was decided today that has determined that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

A federal judge on Friday struck down Utah’s same-sex marriage ban, saying it was unconstitutional. The judge, Robert J. Shelby of Federal District Court for the District of Utah, issued a 53-page ruling that said Utah’s law, which was passed by voters in 2004, violated the rights of gay and lesbian couples to due process and equal protection under the 14th Amendment. Judge Shelby said the state had failed to show that allowing same-sex marriages would affect opposite-sex marriages in any way, and that the state’s unsupported fears and speculations were not sufficient to justify barring same-sex marriages. Lawyers for the state had argued that Utah’s law promoted the state’s interest in “responsible procreation” and the “optimal mode of child-rearing.” The lawsuit was brought by three gay and lesbian couples in Utah. Many similar court challenges are pending in other states, but Utah’s has been closely watched because of the state’s history of staunch opposition to same-sex marriage as the home of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The ruling followed a court decision on Thursday in New Mexico, where the State Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the right of same-sex partners to marry, saying that the “protections and responsibilities that result from the marital relationship shall apply equally” to them and to opposite-sex couples.

Wow! This is so freaking amazing! Again, we have the great news that same-sex marriage is made available to another state here in the US. As I understand it, the ruling judge in this case has not issued a stay barring any couple from applying for a same-sex marriage license until this case goes to appeal. That means, unless a stay is put into place (it hasn’t thus far), same-sex couples can apply for licenses and get married while the matter is appealed to a higher court (which, I have no doubt, the losers in this case will want to do). Technically, Utah is now the 18th state in the country to enjoy marriage equality! Soon, people, I keep telling you … someday soon same-sex marriage will be legal in all 50 states. With today’s ruling, that day draws one state closer!!


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  1. I am speechless. As a native Utahan (and for once proud to say it), I am totally shocked and very pleasantly surprised at this! I NEVER thought I’d see this day, but so glad that it has arrived!

  2. Em

    Very shocking news, but pleasant indeed!

    FYI Trent- Our Federal High Court overturned the same-sex marriage bill for the ACT in Australia, which is devastating news. Especially since they left their decision a week after the ACT bill came into effect, so those who got married were told a week later they won’t be legally recognised.

    They took the opposite approach to your Supreme Court, saying the Fed Govt can introduce laws that define marriage. Thankfully that only applies to the territories (only 2), and the states can still create their own laws, although all have been unsuccessful so far.

    • @Em — I’ve been reading about the events in Australia. It is disappointing … but hopefully the tide of progression will turn there as it has in other countries of the world that have legalized same-sex marriage. Keep up the good fight!

  3. Keely

    I’m thrilled for those in Utah! This is a great development.
    Unfortunately, it has only reminded me just how unlikely my state is to get it anytime soon.

    • I never bet money, but had you asked me last week when Utah would over turn their same-sex marriave ban, I would have bet $1,000 that the only way they’d ever do it is if the federal government forced them. I’ve never been so glad to be proven wrong! Never say never :-)

  4. VV

    Utah? Utah? Didn’t see that coming.

    Who’s next? Oklahoma? Kansas? Iran?

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