Alliance for a Better Utah to file ‘friend of the court’ brief in same-sex marriage case

Posted at 3:48 PM, Feb 13, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-13 17:48:33-05

SALT LAKE CITY – The Alliance for a Better Utah announced Thursday they will file an amicus curiae brief with the 10th Circuit Court supporting the ruling that struck down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage.

An amicus curiae, or “friend of the court” brief is one that is filed by a person or a group who is not a litigant in a case but who still has an interest in the outcome.

The ruling by the 10th District Court is the subject of an appeal to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, and same-sex marriages in Utah have been halted, per a Supreme Court order, pending the outcome of the appeal.

Several religious groups jointly filed an amicus curiae brief opposing the same ruling, including The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The executive director of Alliance for a Better Utah, Maryann Martindale, released a statement regarding their decision to file their brief:

“Our decision to file an amicus brief with the 10th Circuit follows a string of amicus briefs filed in support of Amendment 3 that purport to represent the prevailing views of Utahns. They do not. Nor is that really the relevant question. The question at stake is a question of law, interpretation of the Constitution, and protection of a minority group’s rights. This is what has led Attorneys General from Nevada and Virginia, along with their state governors, to conclude that defending their state bans on same-sex marriage is no longer appropriate.

“Nevertheless, the public’s views are not irrelevant and deserve to be heard, and the views of Utahns in 2004, when Amendment 3 passed, are markedly different a decade later. Utahns are now roughly split on the question of same-sex marriage. Though we cannot speak for the many Utahns who support marriage equality and who are being ignored by their leaders, we do speak with them. Their voices must also be heard.

“Newly-appointed Attorney General Sean Reyes and Governor Gary Herbert, each of whom represents the entire citizenry of the State of Utah, have taken an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Utah. In the present case, those obligations are in conflict and both have chosen to persist in defending Amendment 3 in an attempt to represent what they claim to be the viewpoint of the majority of Utahns. In addition, 81 Republican state legislators have filed an amicus brief in support of Amendment 3. However, with Utahns now evenly split on the issue of marriage equality, it is clear that those 81 state legislators, who represent 78% of the legislature, are disproportionately aligned when compared to the public they represent.”

For more information about Alliance for a Better Utah, visit their website.