As if Indiana's marriage equality victory weren't enough, here's more wonderful freedom-to-marry news to report: the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit has just affirmed U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby's December ruling striking down Utah's marriage discrimination amendment as unconstitutional!
It's the first federal appeals court ruling since last year's Windsor decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Zack Ford of ThinkProgress has further details:
In the first federal appellate level consideration of same-sex marriage since the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act last year, the 10th Circuit has agreed with the lower court that Utah's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. In a 2-1 decision, the panel ruled that the Constitution guarantees that "those who wish to marry a person of the same sex are entitled to exercise the same fundamental right as it is recognized by persons who wish to marry a person of the opposite sex."
The ruling was immediately stayed, recognizing that the Supreme Court had stayed the district court's original ruling earlier this year.
And here's the AP:
A federal appeals court on Wednesday ruled for the first time that states must allow gay couples to marry, finding the Constitution protects same-sex relationships and putting a remarkable legal winning streak across the country one step closer to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The three-judge panel in Denver found it "wholly illogical to believe that state recognition of the love and commitment between same-sex couples will alter the most intimate and personal decisions of opposite-sex couples."...
"All I can say is that we are thrilled," said Kody Partridge, one of the Utah plaintiffs. She was working in the garden with her wife, Laurie Wood, when they heard about the ruling.
"This is such as historic thing, not just for Utah but for Laurie and me" and plaintiffs across the country, Partridge said. "This is a big day."
More from the ruling:
"Having persuaded us that the right to marry is a fundamental liberty, plaintiffs will prevail on their due process and equal protection claims unless appellants can show that Amendment 3 survives strict scrutiny. ... Instead of explaining why same-sex marriage qua same-sex marriage is undesirable, each of the appellants' justifications rests fundamentally on a sleight of hand in which same-sex marriage is used as a proxy for a different characteristic shared by both same-sex and some opposite-sex couples. Same-sex marriage must be banned, appellants argue, because same-sex couples are not naturally procreative. But the state permits many other types of non-procreative couples to wed. ... We emphatically agree with the numerous cases decided since Windsor that it is wholly illogical to believe that state recognition of the love and commitment between same-sex couples will alter the most intimate and personal decisions of opposite-sex couples. ..."
Incredible news! As always, a copy of the ruling is after the break, via Equality Case Files.