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-Utah: A Bad Week for Traditional Marriage

by Dr. D ~ December 23rd, 2013

Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA....

        (LDS Temple: Wikipedia)

On back to back Fridays federal judges ruled against traditional marriage in Utah.

First a federal judge on December 13 declared that state’s criminalization of polygamy was unconstitutional. While state and church authorities were still reeling from that decision, 7 days later (Dec. 20) another Federal judge opened the door for same-sex marriage. Here’s the story from the Washington Post:

A federal judge on Friday ruled Utah’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional in a state dominated by the Mormon Church, one of the country’s staunchest opponents of gay marriage.

“The State’s current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason,” Judge Robert J. Shelby, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, wrote in his opinion. “Accordingly, the court finds that these laws are unconstitutional.”

Utah’s voters approved the ban on gay marriage in 2004.

<Read the whole article>

Response: The State and church authorities in Utah were still trying to figure out how to react to the polygamy ruling and now this. The Utah attorney general plans to immediately appeal the ruling and ask for a stay to stop the issuance of same-sex licenses. Nevertheless, Utah became the 18th state to allow gay marriages over the weekend.

Ironically the Mormon Church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) which dominates the state of Utah is one of the largest supporters of traditional marriage around the whole country. The LDS church members provided considerable financial support and organization in California’s Prop 8 drive to support traditional marriage. Now to see it unravel in their own backyard had to be disconcerting to LDS Church leaders.

Obviously the judicial climate has radically changed in the last several years and now it would seem that all gay rights folks have to do is find the right federal judge in every state and same-sex marriage will become a ‘fait accompli’ regardless of whether the people in a state or the country actually support it or not. In this case, a federal judge overruled the overwhelming support of the voters in Utah for traditional marriage in 2004. So much for democracy, one opinion of an activist judge trumps millions of voters in Utah.

The December 13 and 20 rulings also show that other redefinitions of marriage like polygamy may be also on the legal horizon since the same legal reasoning would seem to open the door to further adjustments to our ‘legal’ understanding of marriage in America.            *Top

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