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Utah reacts to Amendment 3 same-sex marriage ruling

Posted at 10:52 AM, Jun 25, 2014

A federal appeals court has overturned Utah’s Amendment 3, which defined marriage as solely between a man and a woman. Click here for details on this story.

Here are some statements from various people and organizations close to the case:

PLAINTIFF DEREK KITCHEN AND ATTORNEY PEGGY TOMSIC:
The couples are represented by the Salt Lake City law firm of Magleby & Greenwood, P.C. and by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR). Peggy Tomsic of Magleby & Greenwood presented oral argument on behalf of the plaintiff couples.

Said Tomsic: "Today's decision by the Tenth Circuit affirms the fundamental principles of equality and fairness and the common humanity of gay and lesbian people. As the Court recognized, these families are part of Utah's community, and equal protection requires that they be given the same legal protections and respect as other families in this state. The Court's ruling is a victory not only for the courageous couples who brought this case, but for our entire state and every state within the Tenth Circuit."

Added Kitchen: "We are overjoyed by the court's decision, which means so much to us, our family, and everyone who believes in justice and fairness. Since the lawsuit was filed last year, we have received so much support from so many people in our state, and we are now looking forward to the day when we will finally be married."

GOVERNOR GARY HERBERT:

“I am disappointed with the decision from the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in regards to same-sex marriage. I believe states have the right to determine their laws regarding marriage. I am grateful the Court issued a stay to allow time to analyze the decision and our options. But as I have always said, all Utahns deserve clarity and finality regarding same-sex marriage and that will only come from the Supreme Court.”

ACLU OF UTAH:
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit declared that Utah’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional. This marks the first time that an appellate-level court has ruled on state marriage bans following the dismantling of a key section of the federal “Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA),” and sets the stage for the Supreme Court to consider state-level laws.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Utah submitted a “friend of the court” brief in support of the challenge to the law. The ACLU also has a lawsuit in Utah federal court seeking recognition of the marriages of same-sex couples who were wed before the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily halted marriages from taking place.

“This is a proud day for everybody in the state of Utah, and everybody across the country, who supports marriage equality,” said John Mejia, legal director of the ACLU of Utah. “Though there is still much to do, the journey to ensuring the freedom to marry for all just got a huge boost with today’s decision.”

The 10th Circuit includes Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico, the only state in the circuit that allows same-sex couples to marry. The precedent from today’s ruling applies to all of these states: its effect, however, has been stayed pending an expected application by Utah for Supreme Court review.

The ACLU has brought additional challenges against similar laws in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, Oregon, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Alabama and lawsuits seeking recognition of legal marriages inMichigan, Missouri, Florida, and Ohio. Following the Supreme Court’s decision striking down DOMA – a case in which the ACLU served as co-counsel to Edie Windsor – the ACLU launched the Out for Freedom campaign to achieve the freedom to marry for same-sex couples across the country.

“This is a significant step in the astounding progress that has been made in just a few years toward achieving dignity for all families,” said Joshua Block, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. “Today’s decision will hopefully be the first of several around the country that will eventually lead to all loving couples being able to commit to each other and take care of each other with the protections that only come with marriage.”

UTAH ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE

The decision released this morning by the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Kitchen v. Herbert is currently being reviewed by the Utah Attorney General’s Office. Although the Court’s 2-1 split decision does not favor the State, we are pleased that the ruling has been issued and takes us one step closer to reaching certainty and finality for all Utahns on such an important issue with a decision from the highest court. For that to happen, the Utah Attorney General's Office intends to file a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court. The Tenth Circuit Court's issuance of a stay will avoid further uncertainty until the case is finally resolved. Whether the Utah Attorney General's Office seeks en banc review of the Tenth Circuit's ruling has yet to be determined.

UTAH PRIDE CENTER:

"Today the 10th District Court of Appeals issued their decision; Judge Shelby’s ruling to overturn Utah’s unconstitutional ban on same sex marriage is upheld.

For a decade and a half, Utah lawmakers have enacted legislation that obstructs the rights and protections of LGBTQ individuals, couples, and families. The Tenth Circuit’s opinion today affirms Judge Shelby’s decision, and joins the unanimous chorus of federal judges who recognize that the United States Constitution requires that the fundamental right to marry be extended to gay and lesbian couples. We encourage Governor Herbert and Attorney General Sean Reyes to stop spending tax dollars to defend Utah’s unconstitutional ban on marriage equality and accept the lawful decisions of our federal courts. Even our Senior United States Senator, Orrin Hatch, accepts the rulings of the federal judiciary recognizing marriage equality. Utah’s gay and lesbian couples are ready to move forward with their lives and continue to help make Utah the best place to raise a family."

THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS
Salt Lake City — In response to news media questions regarding a ruling on marriage laws in Utah decided by the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released the following statement:"The Church has been consistent in its support of marriage between a man and a woman and teaches that all people should be treated with respect.  In anticipation that the case will be brought before the U.S. Supreme Court,  it is our hope that the nation’s highest court will uphold traditional marriage."

SENATOR ORRIN HATCH:
“Although I oppose discrimination based on sexual orientation, I have always believed that marriage is a sacred union between one man and one woman. In my view, the U.S. Constitution does not dictate a particular definition of marriage, so I believe such judgments are properly left to the citizens of each State. Although I am not surprised by today’s decision, I disagree with the court’s reasoning and hope the Supreme Court ultimately adheres to the original understanding of the Constitution and allows each State to define marriage for itself.”

SEN. JIM DABAKIS, D-SALT LAKE CITY:
"I am joyas (sic), as I know hundreds of thousands of LGBT folks and their families are, all across the great state of Utah. This is a pro-family decision and it fits squarely with true Utah family values--love, kindness and a fair playing field for all It wonderful to see Utah, once again lead the country in gay rights."

SALT LAKE CITY MAYOR RALPH BECKER:

"I applaud the decision handed down today by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

As Mayor of Salt Lake City, it was my honor to marry 35 couples in the first hours after Judge Shelby's ruling last December and I revisited the joy we all felt on that historic day upon hearing the news from Denver today.

Recognizing the love and commitment of all Utah couples and families is simply the right thing to do. I look forward to a time when we are no longer distinguishing between gay or straight -- when a married couple is just a married couple."

CHARLES STORMONT, DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL:

“This appeal is an enormous waste of money and we should be fighting to protect people’s rights, not to take them away.  The state has no business dictating how people build their families, and the State should never tell children or their parents that they are second class citizens. 

“As your attorney general, I will protect everyone’s rights and not pick and choose which rights to defend.  From the right to marry who you love to the right to bear arms, my pledge to Utahns is that I will stand up for all your constitutional rights and follow the law, not political trade winds.”

UTAH UNITES FOR MARRIAGE:

"This is an historic day, not only for Utah and the 10th Circuit states, but also for our nation. Today’s decision affirms the fundamental principles of equality and fairness for gay and lesbian couples and their families. It also marks the 22nd consecutive decision affirming the freedom to marry since Windsor, which took place one year ago tomorrow, June 26, 2014. Even according to Sen. Orrin Hatch, it’s clear that marriage equality is inevitable in the not-too-distant future."

THE HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN:

"Today's decision affirms what we all know to be true -- the U.S. Constitution guarantees the basic civil rights of all Americans, not just some," said HRC president Chad Griffin. "Utah's ban on marriage equality does nothing to strengthen or protect any marriage. Instead, it singles out thousands of loving Utah families for unfair treatment simply because of who they are. Our Constitution does not allow for such blatant discrimination. We are incredibly grateful to the plaintiffs, their attorneys with Magleby & Greenwood, P.C. and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, as well as Utah Unites for Marriage, for their tireless work making today's historic victory possible."

NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MARRIAGE:

"Today's split decision of a panel of judges in the 10th Circuit is not surprising given that this Circuit refused to even order a stay of the district court decision when it came down during the Christmas holidays. While we strongly disagree with the two judges in the majority, we are encouraged by the strong defense of marriage articulated by Justice Paul Kelly in his dissent, and especially his defense of the sovereign right of the people of Utah to decide this issue for themselves. This principled recognition by a federal judge considering the marriage issue underscores that the people of a state are entitled to respect and deference in their desire to promote marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Indeed, the US Supreme Court decided in the Windsor case that the federal government must respect the right of states to define marriage. The majority in the Utah case engage in sophistry to attempt to argue their way around the Supreme Court's ruling that it is up to the states to define marriage. As Justice Kelly noted in his dissent, ‘If the States are the laboratories of democracy, requiring every state to recognize same-gender unions—contrary to the views of its electorate and representatives—turns the notion of a limited national government on its head.'"

"Today's split decision of a panel of judges in the 10th Circuit is not surprising given that this Circuit refused to even order a stay of the district court decision when it came down during the Christmas holidays. While we strongly disagree with the two judges in the majority, we are encouraged by the strong defense of marriage articulated by Justice Paul Kelly in his dissent, and especially his defense of the sovereign right of the people of Utah to decide this issue for themselves. This principled recognition by a federal judge considering the marriage issue underscores that the people of a state are entitled to respect and deference in their desire to promote marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Indeed, the US Supreme Court decided in the Windsor case that the federal government must respect the right of states to define marriage. The majority in the Utah case engage in sophistry to attempt to argue their way around the Supreme Court's ruling that it is up to the states to define marriage. As Justice Kelly noted in his dissent, ‘If the States are the laboratories of democracy, requiring every state to recognize same-gender unions—contrary to the views of its electorate and representatives—turns the notion of a limited national government on its head.'" - See more at: http://www.nomblog.com/#sthash.7cUgCipm.dpuf
"Today's split decision of a panel of judges in the 10th Circuit is not surprising given that this Circuit refused to even order a stay of the district court decision when it came down during the Christmas holidays. While we strongly disagree with the two judges in the majority, we are encouraged by the strong defense of marriage articulated by Justice Paul Kelly in his dissent, and especially his defense of the sovereign right of the people of Utah to decide this issue for themselves. This principled recognition by a federal judge considering the marriage issue underscores that the people of a state are entitled to respect and deference in their desire to promote marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Indeed, the US Supreme Court decided in the Windsor case that the federal government must respect the right of states to define marriage. The majority in the Utah case engage in sophistry to attempt to argue their way around the Supreme Court's ruling that it is up to the states to define marriage. As Justice Kelly noted in his dissent, ‘If the States are the laboratories of democracy, requiring every state to recognize same-gender unions—contrary to the views of its electorate and representatives—turns the notion of a limited national government on its head.'" - See more at: http://www.nomblog.com/#sthash.7cUgCipm.dpuf