Supreme Court Will Decide On Gay Marriage In Utah
The battle over gay marriage in Utah will go all the way to the Supreme Court. U.S, District Judge Robert Shelby ruled 12 days ago that the state’s same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional, allowing hundreds of gay couples to receive marriage licenses since then. But the state has filed an emergency legal application to suspend the lower court ruling, resulting in Justice Sonia Sotomayor asking the three gay couples who were plaintiffs in the case to respond by 12:00 p.m. EST on Friday.
The court filing by the state said that the gay marriages performed over the last two weeks are “an affront … to the interests of the state and its citizens in being able to define marriage through ordinary democratic channels.” However, it’s unclear whether Sotomayor will reject the application outright or refer the case to the entire court.
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 agreed with the plaintiffs and said it violated gay and lesbians couples’ rights to due process and equal protection under the 14th Amendment.
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. The ruling came just 24 hours after New Mexico had also legalized same-sex marriage.