John M. Becker

BREAKING: Fed. Judge Strikes Down Utah Marriage Ban!

Filed By John M. Becker | December 20, 2013 4:20 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: gay marriage, marriage discrimination, marriage equality, Utah

rings.jpgState #18, folks...

Moments ago, a federal district court judge in Utah struck down the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage on the grounds that it violates the equal protection and due process guarantees in the U.S. Constitution.

From NCLR attorney Shannon Minter:

This is the first decision since Perry--and the first after Windsor--striking down a marriage ban under the federal constitution. The judge did not stay his decision, so same-sex couples in Utah are applying for marriage licenses now.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

"The state's current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason," wrote U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby. "Accordingly, the court finds that these laws are unconstitutional."

Shelby's ruling came just 16 days after he heard arguments in the case and well before his self-imposed deadline to render a decision by Jan. 7, when the next hearing in the matter was to be held.

From the ruling, via the phenomenal David Badash at the New Civil Rights Movement:

"Applying the law as it is required to do, the court holds that Utah's prohibition on same-sex marriage conflicts with the United States Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and due process under the law," the ruling states. "The State's current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason. Accordingly, the court finds that these laws are unconstitutional."

"The State of Utah has provided no evidence that opposite-sex marriage will be affected in any way by same-sex marriage. In the absence of such evidence, the State's unsupported fears and speculations are insufficient to justify the State's refusal to dignify the family relationships of its gay and lesbian citizens. Moreover, the Constitution protects the Plaintiffs' fundamental rights, which include the right to marry and the right to have that marriage recognized by their government. These rights would be meaningless if the Constitution did not also prevent the government from interfering with the intensely personal choices an individual makes when that person decides to make a solemn commitment to another human being. The Constitution therefore protects the choice of one's partner for all citizens, regardless of their sexual identity."

The full ruling is embedded after the jump. Huzzah!

UPDATED: This may be Utah's first married same-sex couple! Seth Anderson tweeted this photo of him with Michael Adam Ferguson, holding a marriage certificate:

2:13-cv-00217 #90 by Equality Case Files


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