Judge Listens to Gay Marriage Ban Arguments

A federal judge said he would do his best to make a ruling sometime early in 2014 on a legal challenge to Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage. His comments came after an attorney requested an end of the prohibition by saying the precedent was set by the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court and that discrimination has gone on too long.

Judge Robert Shelby from U.S. District court heard arguments over the ban from both sides on Wednesday, while weighing what would be a decision that is precedent setting on the law passed by Utah voters in 2004.

Close to 100 people were packed into the court in a city home to the Mormon Church, which is known for helping the state of California pass an anti-gay marriage amendment to its constitution.

Peggy Tomsic an attorney argued that marriage was a fundamental right and that it is the time and the court make clear that our 14th Amendment is still working even in the state of Utah.

Attorney’s supporting the ban countered that it was not the role of the court to determine how marriage is defined by a state and that the high court ruling did not give couples who are same sex a universal right to be married.

The attorneys also mentioned the argument of the state that Utah has the right to foster responsible procreation and the best mode of rearing children, which the state says the law provides.

Though over 40 other court challenges that have been similar to same sex marriage bans are still pending across 22 states, the one in Utah is amongst the most watched due to the staunch opposition in the state to gay marriage.

Utah is the home of the Mormon Church, which believes that homosexuality equals a sin. The church was one of the biggest forces behind the amendment in California that banned same sex marriage. Utah was amongst the first U.S. states to pass a constitutional amendment that banned same-sex marriage.

The judge asked both attorneys dozens of different questions. He commented afterward that his hands were full with the case, but said he would attempt to have a ruling for the early part of January.