TV ads advocating for same-sex marriage coming to Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — As the battle over same-sex marriage heads to federal court, new television ads on the topic are set to air in Utah Tuesday.

A coalition group called Utah United for Marriage has created at least two ads. One features former television news anchor Terry Wood, while another features a large LDS family.

The coalition includes, among others, Equality Utah and the Human Rights Campaign. A representative for the coalition told FOX 13 News the ads will appear on local and cable channels and are intended to reach a variety of demographics.

Terry Wood said he was happy to participate in the commercial, which touches on his personal journey.

“When I grew up, years ago, I didn’t know anyone, outwardly, who was gay or lesbian,” he said.

Wood’s son Damien came out in his 20s, and later married a man in California.

“Love is the reason people get married,” Wood said. “My son and his husband have the same love for each other that my wife and I have for each other.”

However, under current law, Damien Wood’s California marriage is not recognized in Utah, something Terry Wood finds absurd.

“My son and son-in-law should be recognized as married when they come to the state of Utah,” he said. “They have a home here, they pay taxes here.”

Brandie Balken, who heads Equality Utah, tells FOX 13 News the ads were created to help people think about same-sex marriage from the perspective of extended families.

“I feel proud to be a part of that,” Wood said before adding, “I know that I’m on the right side of history.”

Longtime conservative leader Gayle Ruzicka of the Utah Eagle Forum watched the ad and shared her take on its message.

“Well that’s good for Terry,” she said. “If he wants to do the ad, that’s fine. I happen to believe that to be against gay marriage is to be on God’s side.”

Ruzicka said she has gay loved ones too, noting “Just because I care about them doesn’t mean i should violate God’s law to show my love.”

Nearly 1,300 same-sex couples wed in Utah last December after a federal judge’s ruling declared Utah’s Third Amendment, which banned same-sex marriage, unconstitutional. The Supreme Court later granted a stay in the ruling, halting the marriages while an appeals process plays out in the court system.

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