Protesters demand Utah governor drop appeal of Amendment 3 ruling

SALT LAKE CITY — More than a thousand people packed the rotunda of the Utah State Capitol to demand Governor Gary Herbert drop an appeal of a ruling that allowed same-sex marriage in the state.

“Let it stand!” they chanted outside the governor’s office, delivering a petition of more than 58,000 signatures to the governor’s office.

Newlywed same-sex couples stood on the staircase inside the capitol building, joining an estimated crowd of about 1,800 for the protest on Friday afternoon. They were calling on the Utah Attorney General’s Office and the governor to not appeal U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby’s ruling that declared Amendment 3 unconstitutional.

Amendment 3, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman and doesn’t recognize anything else, was passed in 2004 by 66 percent of the voters.

“We realize that you believe that you are defending the will of the people,” Derek Kitchen, a plaintiff in the Amendment 3 lawsuit, said outside the governor’s office. “But you know what? It’s been 10 years since Amendment 3 passed, and the will of the people has changed!”

Molly Butterworth and Davida Wegner married the first day it was legal in Utah. The couple, who carried a copy of their marriage license as a protest sign, said the state should not spend money on an appeal.

“We would prefer that he not waste all this money that could go to much better causes than fighting our rights,” Butterworth said.

The state is expected to spend as much as $2 million to appeal Amendment 3 to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver and potentially the U.S. Supreme Court. The Utah Attorney General’s Office said it was taking bids for outside counsel to help them.

The governor’s office had no comment on the petitions to FOX 13 News, but said it would look at them, verify their authenticity, and present them in a report to Gov. Herbert. A spokesman for the office did say the state was proceeding with the appeal.

“I don’t think the fight’s over yet,” said Candice Green-Berrett, who married her wife, Megan Berrett, the first day it was legal to do so. “I haven’t lost hope over it yet.”

Added Megan: “We trust in the legal system, we trust in humanity and that people will make the best decisions that will help our American and our Utah families.”

42 comments

    • Rebecca

      Sadly, you’d be the first to start screaming if you had any of your rights taken away. All people should have equal rights under the law and religion has no place in any laws.

      • Eric Anderson

        By the way: The AMENDMENT (not just “law”) was passed by voters, by a 2/3 majority.

        Religious people get to vote, too.

        Show me the term “separation of Church and State” in the Constitution.

        When you fail, I’ll show you the ACTUAL First Amendment, which forbids government from interfering with religious expression.

        This coming from an atheist.

        But I do know how to read. People have a right to practice and express their religion. They do not have a right to be free FROM the influence of religion. You only have a right not to be forced to JOIN a particular religion.

  • Kelly Summers

    I don’t think they should be getting married. When two men can make a child and give birth to a child than they can do what they want. When a woman get her life partner pregnant than we will talk. Until than get over it . Men and women marry. Not man and man, or woman and woman

    • tammy

      Who says that procreation is required for people to marry??? My husband and I have been happily married for almost 10 years with NO children resulting from our marriage!! does that mean in your eyes, Kelly that we should NOT be married? To heck with you people and your ignorant, self important views!! the LGBT community is not hurting anyone!! they are only asking for what we, as hetro couples have!! let them marry and be happy!! they aren’t trying to shove THEIR beliefs down OUR throats!! unlike what most people are doing to them!! Shame on you ALL for making them fight for the rights that SHOULD already be theirs!!! I’m having flashbacks of the black fight for basic human rights here!!

    • RyNo

      Our planet is already over populated… Does it really matter if they flood the world the world with kids like Christians?

      Also, by your standards, your marriage should be voided when you hit menopause, because you can no longer make kids…

  • Heather

    Well, Kelly, under your requirements for marriage the state would have to deny marriage for infertile couples.

    The constitution gives us the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Using this constitutional grant, marriage should be allowed for any consenting adult couple, without a qualification of sexual orientation (or fertility).

  • Bill Beveridge

    Marriage is between one man and one woman. We, as the people of Utah need to make sure it stays that way. The gays and lesbians are a radical group that will eat this State alive and demand more rights. They can pack up and move some where else. Good riddance. Don’t let the door hit you in the ***, on your way out

    • Mike

      How about you find yourself some nice theocracy where you can live? Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

      • Bart watts

        You realize how idiotic you are? You realize that without gays you wouldn’t have anyone to blame for all the problems of the world. Precisely what did we do to you to make you so hurtful and angry? What did we do you that made you think you have the right to denigrate us the way you do? Here’s some denigration. You are a fool, a bigot, a hateful spiteful stain on the face of humanity. I wipe better things off my shoe than you.

    • Candide

      Bill, my ancestors helped to found and settle this state. I am not going anywhere. I will stay here and fight until all have equal rights. However, Uganda may have room for people with your prejudices.

  • Eric Anderson

    It is the job of the Judicial Branch to defend the rights of the minority. It is the job of the Executive Branch to enforce and defend the law.

    Utah voters took the Utah courts out of the equation with a Constitutional Amendment.

    The governor and AG are only doing their jobs. I don’t want an Executive who picks and chooses which laws to enforce, on a whim. We already have one of those in the White House.

    The issue will remain open until the U.S. Supreme Court rules. So let’s get it done once and for all.

    I have NO problem with all citizens having equal access to workplace benefits, tax advantages, etc. Domestic Partnership contracts need have nothing to do with s e x.

    The other aspects of “Marriage” are in the minds of the citizens. Attempting to force changes in the definition of “Marriage” is attempting to regulate THOUGHT. “Marriage” is forever beyond the reach of government.

    The obvious solution is to remove the M-word from government altogether, and let society decide who is and is not “married.” We’re going to do it anyway, so why all the hoopla? No one can force me to refer to a man’s “husband”, or a woman’s “wife.” It’s called “freedom of conscience.” If you are not sovereign over your own mind, then how can you call yourself “free” in ANY meaningful sense?

  • russojoe205000

    Myself and the majority of utah support the appeal of Amendment 3.
    The LGBT community is trying to force their way of life down the throughts of the majority Americans who believe the there way is both offensive and a lie. You are trying to destroy the sanctity of marriage just do you can play house and to me that is nothing more than selfish on your part. Marriage is between a man and a woman period.
    So in short get over your selfish ways!!!

    • Bart watts

      Selfish ways? Seriously? You are that uneducated? Although, it does show through the appalling grammar used in your hateful comment. So, you can speak for all of Utah? Hmmm. Very interesting. Guess what, your opinion doesn’t matter. Not at all! I don’t care what goes on in your white trash house and you shouldn’t be obsessed with what goes on in our homes. How about you concentrate and raising children that won’t end up in jail and we will adopt the ones your slut of a daughter decides she can’t look after. Do you find what I say offensive? I hope so! Your entire premise and existence is insulting and offensive to us.

    • Eric Anderson

      Nonsense. I’m not married because homosexuals say so. They have no effect on my marriage.

      They’ve always married when they chose to, and anyone who chose to recognize the marriage did so.

      The only thing that would change is that they’d have the same rights to workplace benefits, tax advantages, etc, as any other citizens.

      If your marriage is on such shaky ground that some homosexuals can destroy it then I suggest you get a good lawyer.

  • ben

    Don’t understand y the govenor wants to mix gov. with reg. Or is it the other way around??? Cuse if the mormains don’t want any thing too do with it. Then why say anthig?? There parents must of not or showed them any respect. Or didn’t watch bam-bee???!!! Since they like MOVIES!!!!!!!

  • Chopin1074

    Kdt: have you looked at your own comments? Bart isn’t uneducated at all. He’s making a point. Maybe you couldn’t see beyond your self righteous nose to understand that.

  • Amy S Smith-Lee

    Can anyone tell me why Utah doesn’t follow their own constitution….How does Amendment 3 supercede all other rights that are allowed in this state?

    Can You explain to me why Utah ignores this

    THERE SHALL BE NO UNION OF CHURCH AND STATE, NOR SHALL ANY CHURCH DOMINATE THE STATE OR INTERFERE WITH IT’S FUNCTIONS

    Here is the Utah State Constitution

    Article I, Section 3. [Utah inseparable from the Union.]

    The State of Utah is an inseparable part of the Federal Union and the Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land.

    Article I, Section 4. [Religious liberty.]

    The rights of conscience shall never be infringed. The State shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office of public trust or for any vote at any election; nor shall any person be incompetent as a witness or juror on account of religious belief or the absence thereof. THERE SHALL BE NO UNION OF CHURCH AND STATE, NOR SHALL ANY CHURCH DOMINATE THE STATE OR INTERFERE WITH IT’S FUNCTIONS. No public money or property shall be appropriated for or applied to any religious worship, exercise or instruction, or for the support of any ecclesiastical establishment.

    Article I, Section 7. [Due process of law.]

    No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law.

    Article I, Section 25. [Rights retained by people.]

    This enumeration of rights shall not be construed to impair or deny others retained by the people.

    Article I, Section 27. [Fundamental rights.]

    Frequent recurrence to fundamental principles is essential to the security of individual rights and the perpetuity of free government.

    Article X, Section 9. [Public aid to church schools forbidden.]

    Neither the state of Utah nor its political subdivisions may make any appropriation for the direct support of any school or educational institution controlled by any religious organization.

    • rich

      Where does it say that the LGBT can dictate their demands on an amendment voted on and passed by 66% of Utahans. If you wish to change the law then petition the Congress of Utah for a new law and a new vote. One radical Liberal Judge can not strike down an amendment passed by a super majority.

    • Eric Anderson

      You are exactly right, Amy, and that’s why the citizens of Utah AMENDED their Constitution. The AMENDMENT changed the Constitution. That’s what AMENDMENTS do.

      Otherwise, slavery would still be legal. And you wouldn’t be allowed to vote.

  • David

    I care less one way or the other if they can marry or not; however the people of the State of Utah voted 66% to 34% majority wins. I would support the LBGT if they were not rubbing their ideas all over the place. People who want to keep marriage between one man and one woman are not suing States, making media headlines, protests / marches. The line has be made; if the law allow two of the same genders marry than polygamy is lawful under the same idea.

  • Jack

    This is really simple stuff. I learned this in elementary school but apparently they don’t teach this stuff in Utah schools. The will of the people cannot enact laws that are not in compliance with the U.S. Constitution. The will of the people cannot enact prejudice laws. The states have rights, but they can’t go as far as to conflict with the U.S. Constitution. Remove your personal bias and your religious beliefs because neither are relevant as it pertains to the law. Judge Shelby did nothing more than evaluate as to whether or not the state amendment was constitutional. As per the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution it is not. Federal law trumps state law, and it doesn’t matter if 100% of the state voted for the amendment. It’s irrelevant. If 100% of the state voted to make interracial marriages, or if 100% of the state voted to legalize slavery both would be found unconstitutional by the Federal Government. Please read up on some American history as to why this country was founded in the first place. Please read the U.S. Constitution from beginning to end. Then you’ll see why Amendment 3 was found unconstitutional. And to say that the minority is pushing their beliefs on the majority is an awfully hypocritical statement. Who is the one that is enacting laws and fighting to keep them to limit the rights of the minority?

    Amendment 3 is unconstitutional. Get over it. If the opponents would worry about themselves and things that actually affect them we wouldn’t be in this situation. The only right you are loosing is the right to deny the rights & freedoms of others.

    • Jack

      *Typo.. That was supposed to say if the majority voted to make interracial marriages illegal regardless of how many people supported it the federal government would find that law unconstitutional.

      “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves”

      -Abraham Lincoln

    • Eric Anderson

      Good start. Now once you get past the 3rd grade you’ll learn that a Constitutional Amendment takes the judiciary out of the equation. Utah courts have no say in the matter. Currently, a lower Federal court’s ruling has been stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

      Until the USSC rules against the Amendment it’s the job of the governor and the AG to enforce Utah’s Constitution and to defend it in court.

      When you get to the 4th grade we’ll lean about the different branches of government, their functions, and the relationship between State and Federal laws and governments.

      Here endeth the lesson.

      • Eric Anderson

        By the way: I HAVE read the U.S. Constitution, and studied its origins at length. Have you?

        “Marriage” is not mentioned anywhere. Therefore, the Fed is prohibited from regulating it by the 10th Amendment of the Bill of Rights.

        Furthermore, ANY court’s authority would be limited to the legal, contractual aspects of “marriage.” A “Domestic Partnership Contract”, in other words. Government cannot regulate whom society considers “married” because government cannot regulate thought. (Though not for lack of trying.)

      • Jack

        So by your logic you’re saying that Utah can ban interracial marriages under the 10th Amendment if they wanted to? Apparently you missed the 14th Amendment when you were reading the constitution. The word marriage doesn’t need to be in there for a marriage law to be found unconstitutional. I’m not against the stay during the appeal, but I think it’s a complete waste of money to keep appealing when the answer is going to be the same. It will be found unconstitutional at the 10th Circuit of Appeals and it will be found unconstitutional at the SCOTUS level and $2 mil+ will be wasted. Since DOMA was found unconstitutional, the states don’t have a legitimate legal defense other than than their personal and unproven theories about why hetero marriages are more advantageous for the development of children. And of course their religious beliefs that have no bearing as far as the law is concerned. 10th Amendment doesn’t give the state the right to create discriminating laws regardless of how much of the population supports it. You can talk shit all you want right now, but before long Utah will have marriage equality whether you like it or now. Have fun in class.

  • Oh bite me

    Relax people! It’s not the end of the world. It’s called equality.get over your hate filled bigotry. It’s Not like they want to consummate there marriage’s on temple grounds. There’s already enough weird stuff going on there.

    • kdt

      Its not called equality, its called sick and immoral. All you gays need to get oover it and go found your own country to destroy.

  • Jack

    If you have a problem with it ktd, feel free to move to Russia. US is a free country and your prejudices don’t dictate other peoples’ rights. You’ll like Russia, not a very free place but they’re very anti-homosexual. In the US, you are the minority. It would be a lot easier for you to go than for about 60%+ of the US to go. You are the weakest link… ba bye!

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