Utah Gay Marriage Ban Ruled Unconstitutional By Federal Judge
A Utah judge has ruled that the state’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional. A lawsuit had been brought against the state by three gay and lesbian couples in Utah, claiming that their constitutional rights were being violated in not being allowed to get married. Although the the gay marriage ban was passed by voters in 2004, U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby struck it down and declared it violated gay and lesbians couples’ rights to due process and equal protection under the 14th Amendment.
The decision is particularly shocking because the primarily conservative state, which is also home to a large Mormon population, has a long and documented history of being against same-sex marriage. Attorneys for the state argued that the law was simply supporting the “optimal mode of child rearing,” but Shelby said the state didn’t successfully prove that allowing gay marriage would affect same-sex marriage in any way. Although it’s unclear when gay marriage will officially be made in legal in Utah, it appears likely that this will happen sometime in 2014.
The ruling came just 24 hours after a New Mexico federal court confirmed that gay couples have the right to legally marry in the state. The judge in that court hearing said the same “protections and responsibilities that result from the marital relationship shall apply equally” to them and to opposite-sex couples.”