Utahns divided on same-sex marriage debate

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SALT LAKE CITY - People across the United States, including here in Utah, are paying attention to the same-sex marriage debate being heard in the U.S. Supreme Court and anticipating what it could mean for marriage rights in the state.

Utah's amendment banning same-sex marriage, and 28 like it nationwide, could be deemed unconstitutional, even though voters approved them.

Members of Utah's Eagle Forum, a conservative think tank, stand firm that the issue of same-sex marriage is a state matter and Utahns decided long ago on the definition of marriage.

"We just want to say marriage is about family. It's about a man and a woman having children and it's because of marriage that prosperity goes on. Every child deserves a mother and father and we are inviting all people to come celebrate marriage," said Gayle Ruzicka, president of the Eagle Forum.

California's Proposition 8, which is one of the two cases being heard in front of the Supreme Court, has been in the spotlight here in Utah after the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints encouraged members to donate time and money to ensure its passage in 2008.

Earlier this year, the Church teamed up with other religious organizations to file a pair of amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court, asking it to uphold both Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.

The Utah Pride Center, an organization that provides support to the LGBT community in Utah, has also filed amicus briefs in support of the overturn of both Proposition 8 and DOMA.

In response to the hearings, the LDS Church released a statement Tuesday, saying:

"Today the Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments regarding the definition of marriage in this country.

"We firmly support the divinely appointed definition of marriage as the union between a man and a woman because it is the single most important institution for strengthening children, families, and society.

"We hope the court will agree, and we look forward to the decision on this important matter."