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UT Gov. Challenging Court Ruling That Ends Same-Sex Marriage Ban

PHOTO: A federal judge's ruling overturning Utah's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage faces a court challenge today (Monday). Photo courtesy U-S Department of Health and Human Services.
PHOTO: A federal judge's ruling overturning Utah's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage faces a court challenge today (Monday). Photo courtesy U-S Department of Health and Human Services.
December 23, 2013

SALT LAKE CITY - A federal judge's ruling overturning Utah's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage faces a court challenge today. Utah acting Attorney General Brian Tarbet said he plans to bring a motion to stay the court ruling as part of the state's appeal of the decision.

Late last week, U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby overturned Amendment 3, approved in 2004 with 66 percent voter support. Amendment 3 amended the state constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

Clifford Rosky, board chairman, Equality Utah, is also a law professor at the University of Utah. He said he expects Shelby's ruling to withstand all legal challenges.

"Because it's based on Supreme Court precedent, we fully expect that this ruling will be upheld first by the Tenth Circuit and then eventually by the United States Supreme Court," Rosky said. "And, we expect that same-sex couples will soon enjoy the freedom to marry in Utah and in all 50 states."

Rosky said the Utah ruling is based on the legal precedent set by the U.S. Supreme Court overturning the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) earlier this year. DOMA had allowed states to not recognize same-sex marriages in other states.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has said the ruling created "a chaotic situation in our state that requires an expedited judicial resolution."

Rosky said the Utah decision could establish a legal precedent invalidating same-sex marriage bans in all states.

"This is federal. So if this judge is right, all 50 states must legalize same-sex marriage. The logic of this decision is not limited to Utah in any way," Rosky explained.

If the federal ruling stands, Utah would be the 18th state to allow same-sex marriage. The court ruling is available at www.utd.uscourts.gov.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - UT