Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Is Utah the 18th Marriage Equality State?? // Updated on 12/25/13: 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals Blocks Efforts to Halt Gay Weddings!

(Originally written on 12/20/13): OMFG... I absolutely did not see this one coming. Earlier this afternoon, a federal judge in Utah struck down Utah's ban on same-sex marriage, asserting that it violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantees of 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," wrote U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby. "Accordingly, the court finds that these laws are unconstitutional."
Needless to say, neither Gov. Gary Herbert nor Utah's Attorney General's Office are pleased with this decision. They immediately began complaining about Judge Shelby being an "activist federal judge" and stating that they are drafting a motion seeking a stay on today's ruling, as well as an appeal.

Meanwhile, dozens of same-sex couples are lined up in Salt Lake City in an effort to get legally married before any stay motions are hypothetically approved. Utah allows couples to officially marry and receive their marriage licenses all at once. This couple is reportedly the first same-sex couple to legally marry in Utah.

This will not be an easy win. The Utah government will fight this battle tooth-and-nail all the way to their highest courts. But Pandora's Box has been opened. Utah no has numerous same-sex couples who have successfully applied for and received legal marriage licenses. That cannot be taken from them.

This is indeed an exciting day!

Updated on 12/25/13: Utah's Attorney General's Office has been doing its darnedest to stop the gay marriage ceremonies in that state. Unfortunately, they missed the boat by waiting too long. In other word, instead of preventing the marriages from happening last week and altering the status quo, they waited until gay marriage became the new status quo and then tried altering that. It didn't work. In fact, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Utah's latest request for an emergency stay late yesterday:
The court said in its short ruling that a decision to put gay marriage on hold was not warranted, but said it put the case on the fast track for a full appeal of the ruling.
Utah now plans to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, roughly 700 same-sex couples have been married across Utah since last Friday's ruling!

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