Same-sex couples seek to intervene in Amendment 3 appeal

Posted at 4:01 PM, Feb 01, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-01 18:01:46-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Three same-sex couples from Utah are seeking to intervene in the state’s Amendment 3 appeal, hiring the lawyer who successfully challenged the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

In a filing Friday with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, three couples — including two who married during the time frame it was legal — sought to present arguments in the case.

Read the filing here.

The couples are represented by Roberta Kaplin, who represented Edith Windsor in the challenge to DOMA before the U.S. Supreme Court. In her filing, Kaplin asked to argue against the section of Amendment 3 that denies any other legal recognition to same-sex couples in Utah.

“These provisions expressly bar the provision of any legal rights, responsibilities, or protections to the members of any gay or lesbian couple (including the Proposed Intervenor Couples) at any time, in any place, or of any scope,” she wrote. “The Proposed Intervenor Couples therefore seek to intervene in order to demonstrate that these provisions of Utah’s laws constitute independent, grievous violations of the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection of the law.”

On Dec. 20, 2013, U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby declared Amendment 3 — which defines marriage as between a man and a woman and does not recognize anything else — unconstitutional. An estimated 1,360 same-sex couples obtained marriage licenses in Utah for 17 days until the U.S. Supreme Court granted the state’s request for a stay pending the appeal.

The 10th Circuit Court has scheduled arguments in the case on April 10 in Denver. The Utah Attorney General’s first brief is due Monday.

Meanwhile, the conservative Family Research Council has sought to file a “friend of the court” brief in the case.