BREAKING: Federal Judge Strikes Down Utah's Same-Sex Marriage Ban
Breaking news in Utah! The Associated Press just tweeted:
BREAKING: Federal judge strikes down Utah's same-sex marriage ban, saying it is unconstitutional.
— The Associated Press (@AP) December 20, 2013
More as this story develops.
In the meantime, this is AWESOME news!
Updated Friday, 1:35p.m. PST:
From The Salt Lake Tribune:
A federal judge in Utah Friday struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, saying the law violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process.
"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," wrote U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby. "Accordingly, the court finds that these laws are unconstitutional."
Shelby’s ruling came just 16 days after he heard arguments in the case and well before his self-imposed deadline to render a decision by Jan. 7, when the next hearing in the matter was to be held.
Shelby said that while he agreed with Utah that marriage has traditionally been left to regulation by the states, such laws must comply with the Constitution.
"The issue the court must address in this case is not who should define marriage, but the narrow question of whether Utah’s current definition of marriage is permissible under the Constitution," the judge said.
Shelby acknowledged the politically charged climate that surrounds the issue and said that was particularly true in Utah, where 66 percent of voters approved the amendment banning same-sex marriage in 2004.
"It is only under exceptional circumstances that a court interferes with such action," Shelby said. "But the legal issues presented in this lawsuit do not depend on whether Utah’s laws were the result of its legislature or a referendum, or whether the laws passed by the widest or smallest of margins."