Federal judge in Utah to weigh arguments in same-sex marriage lawsuit

SALT LAKE CITY –  A federal judge is deciding whether Utah voters have the right to ban same-sex marriage in the state.

Attorneys for three gay couples challenged Utah’s Amendment Three, which says the state only recognizes marriages between a man and a woman.

The plaintiffs are asking Robert Shelby, a U.S. District Court Judge, for a summary judgment ruling that the state acted against the constitutional rights of gay couples when the amendment was passed.

The state has argued that only allowing marriage between a man and a woman promotes responsible procreation and supports the “optimal mode of child rearing.”

Phil Lott is a Utah assistant attorney general, and he said Amendment Three doesn’t come from a place of bigotry.

“Sixty six percent of the voters of Utah passed Amendment Three, and it’s impossible to consider that 66 percent of the population of Utah are bigoted against homosexuals,” he said. “That’s simply not the fact.”

Peggy Tomsic is an attorney for the plaintiffs, and she said she believes Amendment Three is unconstitutional.

“There is a clear line of authority from the Supreme Court that says you cannot let a popular vote decide a person’s rights,” she said. “If that were so, we would still be banning racially integrated marriages in the South, I believe.”