Utah doesn’t have to let a man marry his laptop, judge rules

Posted at 3:53 PM, Mar 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-20 08:23:01-04

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a man seeking the right to marry his laptop.

In an order obtained by FOX 13 on Monday, U.S. District Court Judge David Nuffer rejected a lawsuit leveled by Chris Sevier, who argued that if same-sex marriage is legal he should be allowed to marry his computer. He also amended his lawsuit to include John Gunter, Jr., and Whitney Kohl, who sought the right to enter into a polygamous marriage.

Sevier sued Utah Governor Gary Herbert, Attorney General Sean Reyes and Utah County Clerk Bryan Thompson, who refused to issue wedding licenses in the litigation.

In his order, Judge Nuffer accepted a magistrate judge’s recommendation to toss the litigation. It essentially declared Sevier wasn’t really interested in the right to marry a computer, but to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges ruling that made same-sex marriage legal nationwide.

“The Sevier Plaintiffs’ disbelief in the legitimacy of Obergefell does not
constitute an injury in fact,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Evelyn Furse wrote.

In an email to FOX 13 on Monday, Sevier said he would appeal the decision.

“Other Plaintiffs will come behind us to sue the State once again, only this time they will not be pleading in the alternative under the Fourteenth Amendment to expand marriage to other parody forms if the Court wants to continue to advance the ploy and the unprincipled misapplication of the Fourteenth Amendment that is the hallmark of Obergefell,” he wrote.

“The District Court in our case is guilty of perpetrating Constitutional, political, and judicial malpractice. The Utah District Court is immensely dishonest and untrustworthy. Because the Court perpetrated dereliction of duties owed to the United States Constitution, we will be pressuring oversight to remove the District Court judges from office for cause.”

Sevier has filed similar lawsuits in other states. In this case, he acted as his own attorney and has also been disbarred from practicing law in Tennessee.

In court filings, the state of Utah seemed both amused and perplexed by the lawsuit. Not only did it argue he didn’t have a case, but at one point the Utah Attorney General’s Office told the judge that unless Sevier’s laptop was over 15 — it couldn’t consent to any marriage.

“The court carefully considered the issues in the case and took it seriously before offering its ruling that there is no injury, no case and controversy and therefore, no standing,” assistant Utah Attorney General David Wolf told FOX 13.

Ironically, Utah found itself defending same-sex marriage as vigorously as it opposed it in other legal challenges (Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage was struck down in 2013). Wolf said Attorney General Reyes was consistent in defending the laws on the books.

“The attorney general’s office defended the law. Prior to Obergefell, same-sex individuals did not have the right to marry. The attorney general took the position he would defend the law as expressed by the people of Utah,” he said. “After Obergefell, the law of the land is same sex couples have the constitutional right to marry. Our office defends the law.”