The same sex marriage ban in Utah was struck down on Friday by a federal judge in a decision that shows the nation is shifting toward allowing gay marriage. Utah is a very conservative state and home to the Mormon Church, which has steadfastly opposed same sex marriage.
Judge Robert Shelby from U.S. District Court issued his ruling of 53 pages saying the law in Utah passed in 2004 by voters violates equal protection under the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment and the right of due process of lesbian and gay couples.
Shelby said Utah had failed to show that by allowing marriage between same sexes would affect marriages of opposite sex individuals in any way.
Late in the evening on Friday, the state filed its appeal, both an appeal notice as well as a request to be granted an emergency stay, to stop any marriage licenses for same sex couples to be issued. It is not known when Judge Shelby will make his decision on the stay.
The Attorney General Office’s spokesperson said it could take time before things could be put in place. The spokesperson added that the judge said it could be two days or more before any type of request for a stay or appeal would be reviewed.
Gary Herbert, the Governor of Utah, vowed to be a defender of traditional marriage following the ruling.
Governor Herbert said he was disappointed that a federal judge, who he called an activist, was attempting to override the will of the Utah people. He said he would meet with the Attorney General and the state’s legal counsel to determine what is the best course of action to defend Utah’s traditional marriage.
The County clerk’s office of Salt Lake started to issue marriage licenses to couples of the same-sex. The district attorney had authorized the issuing of the licenses but there was no number available as to how many already had been issued.
The lawsuit in Utah was filed by three lesbian and gay couples. One couple involved in the lawsuit was married legally in Iowa, but wants its license to be recognized in Utah.