Main | Wednesday, December 04, 2013

UTAH: Federal Court Hears Demand To Overturn Same-Sex Marriage Ban

A federal court today began hearing arguments in the case of three gay couples who are suing for the overturn of Utah's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Both the state and the lawyer for the couples are asking for a summary judgment in their favor. Both sides are citing Edith Windor's case in their filings. Via the Salt Lake Tribune:
Attorneys for Utah say Windsor makes clear that states, not the federal government, have sovereign authority to define and regulate marriage. The Windsor ruling is "replete with deferential references" to the state of New York’s power and authority to regulate marriage, state attorneys argue, and criticizes the federal government’s effort to interfere with such decisions.

Windsor "overturned an act of Congress considered an ‘unusual’ federal intrusion" into state authority. Given that, Utah’s own power, decision-making and "exercise of its sovereign authority within our federal system to not include same-sex marriage is entitled to the same respect and deference," the state argues.

Attorneys for the three couples say that under the "binding analysis" of Windsor, their arguments prevail because "Utah’s Marriage Discrimination Laws ... single out same-sex couples to impose a disability on them, and to treat them unequally." Under Windsor, such laws are "irrational, and no legitimate purpose overcomes their purpose and effect to disparage and injure."
The ACLU has filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs. Filing an amicus brief in support of the state are four Brigham Young professors, among them Professor Joseph Price, who is being called as an "expert witness" in a Michigan marriage equality suit. Earlier this year Price joined discredited research Mark Regnerus in SCOTUS brief against the overturn of DOMA. Price, you might recall, has published a study which claims that lesbian parents produce violent male children.

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