Utah Judge Strikes Down Ban On Same-Sex Marriage, Rules Laws Unconstitutional
It’s a Christmas miracle — or, maybe just a call to common sense. On Friday, a federal judge struck down Utah’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby issued a 53-page ruling, deciding the ban violates what the U.S. Constitution is supposed to guarantee: equal protection and due process. "The state’s current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason," Shelby wrote. "Accordingly, the court finds that these laws are unconstitutional."
As the AP reported, the decision is momentous:
Shelby says the state failed to show that allowing same-sex marriages would affect opposite-sex marriages in any way, and the state's unsupported fears and speculations are insufficient to justify deny allowing same-sex marriages.
Attorneys for the state argued that Utah's law promotes 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.
Utah is following closely in New Mexico’s footsteps just one day after the state also declared a similar ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. As we reported yesterday:
Though New Mexico never officially banned same-sex marriage, the existing statues of marriage “have the effect of precluding same-gender couples from marrying,” according to court documents. Eight of the state’s 33 counties were already issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples — thanks to a clerk in southern New Mexico, who decided to just get on with it — but this is the first time it’s been declared constitutional state-wide.
The Supreme Court didn’t take the ruling lightly, and court documents reveal a lengthly reasoning behind the decision. Justice Edward Chávez brought up the parallels between how some courts and citizens view marriage between same-sex couples today, and how it repeats the history of how interracial marriage was once treated by the same parties.