Thursday, April 10, 2014

Court Hears Utah Marriage Case

Three judges on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals have now heard arguments in the case for overturning the ban on same sex marriage in the state of Utah. The questions and answers were similar to other recent cases, however this particular case will be pivotal in opening the issue back up to the United States Supreme Court to make a decision about a national standard for marriage equality. (Several similar cases will be heard in coming months across the country.)

Judge Carlos Lucero cited gay marriage's legal success and compared the state's argument that the ban should stand to the Supreme Court's infamous Dred Scott decision that denied citizenship and constitutional protections to blacks before the Civil War.

"The law does not allow the type of discriminatory behavior that is at issue in these type of cases," Lucero said

At the same time, the will of the people argument raised it’s head…

"You are just taking the position they are wrong on this. We'll just ignore what the people have decided and the Legislature has done," Kelly told Peggy Tomsic, who represented the plaintiffs.

The swing vote looks to be Judge Jerome A. Holmes…

Holmes… had pointed questions for both sides. He compared Utah's same-sex marriage ban to Virginia's ban on interracial marriages, which the Supreme Court struck down in 1967.

That law "made that mixed-race couple essentially an 'other' for the purposes of marriage," Holmes said. "Why is that any different from this situation?"

At the same time these arguments are being heard, some of the couples who took advantage of legal same sex marriage in the brief window it was available in Utah are facing the battleground of adoptions, as they attempt to legalize their unions as it pertains to their children. They are being met with the same stay that marriage equality met while it is appealed to a higher court.

Read more of the Utah hearing case HERE and more on the adoption struggles HERE

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