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.”

7 comments

  • Jennifer Stucki

    Putting aside my personal opinion on the issue, stories like this one scare me. It seems like we are seeing more and more stories where something is put to a public vote, with the assumption that we have educated adults voting for what they feel is right for them, and if the vote doesn’t turn out they way some people feel it should Judges are being asked to overturn voters opinion again and again. Why do we even vote any more? It seems quite pointless. There have been many things that public votes have voted in that I don’t agree with and voted against, but at least I feel like people got to voice their opinion.. Had to laugh at quote “There is a clear line of authority from the Supreme Court that says you cannot let a popular vote decide a person’s rights,” Really? I kinda thought that is what happened when we voted for a president. I feel like my rights are challenged with each new president, maybe we need a judge to overturn that public vote too. ;) I guess the squeaky wheel does get the grease.

  • Landis Linford

    You’re equating voting for a president or whether we allow radioactive waste to voting for the rights of individuals. It’s not the same thing at all. Your rights are challenged with each new president? My rights were challenged when the issue of marriage equality was put to a vote, ONE TIME! You get to vote for new elected officials if you don’t like what they are doing. I don’t get to go back to the ballot to say I think Amendment 3 is wrong; that’s why it is in a judges hands now.

    Judges are there for the purpose of overturning unconstitutional laws. It’s their job to be a check against the intrusion of government and public opinion on the rights of individuals. Thomas Jefferson said, “..that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect and to violate would be oppression.”

  • Utah Red

    There is no violation of rights. Any man has the right to marry any woman and any woman has the right to marry any man. That right is universal in this country.

    • Hunter

      But while a woman can marry a man, a man cannot. The man that I love and plan on being with for the rest of my life can obtain a marriage license with literally any consenting female however not with the person who he actually desires to be with. It IS a violation of rights.

      • Utah Red

        Why do you feel you need a State sanctioned license to “be with” the person you want to spend the rest of your life with? Totally unnecessary for that to happen. You already have that right.

    • Jordan Jensen

      That’s a silly argument and you know it. Just because a kiwi is edible doesn’t mean I’m not allergic to it. So, no. I won’t eat it. But I still have to eat. So I’ll go for a banana over the kiwi, a fruit I can eat because that is how my body works. I didn’t choose to be allergic to kiwis, but I am.

      • Utah Red

        Your analogy doesn’t make any sense. If you are allergic to one fruit nothing is stopping you from eating the fruit of your choice. I wonder, how would you feel if you were forced to buy a license to eat said fruit? Would that be a violation of your rights?

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