Friday, Aug. 1, 2014

All eyes of the nation focused on the 10th Circuit Court

By Dennis Romboy, Deseret News National Edition

Published: Wed, April 9 9:15 p.m. MDT

 Colorado same-sex marriage supporters rallied outside the federal courthouse in downtown Denver on Wednesday, April 9, 2014, on the eve of Utah's defense of its law banning gay and lesbian unions.

Colorado same-sex marriage supporters rallied outside the federal courthouse in downtown Denver on Wednesday, April 9, 2014, on the eve of Utah's defense of its law banning gay and lesbian unions.

(Dennis Romboy, Deseret News)

DENVER — Colorado same-sex marriage supporters rallied outside the federal courthouse in downtown Denver on the eve of Utah's defense of its law banning gay and lesbian unions.

Support Marriage Equality in Colorado put on the event to support the three Utah couples whose case will be heard by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday. The group says the issue matters to Coloradans because the state is part of the 10th Circuit.

"We just wanted to make sure that we showed the community and our state that we support the families. We wanted to let everyone know why marriage matters to our families," said Jeff Allen, who founded the organization.

About 250 people attended the rally on the steps of the Byron White Federal Courthouse where lawyers for the Utah couples and the state will argue before a three-judge panel Thursday.

The outcome could have implications in Colorado, which passed a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in 2006. It is among six states that make up the 10th Circuit along with Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Wyoming and Utah.

"This case could be the one that overturns everything nationwide," Allen said. "We felt that being in the same district, it's kind of our obligation to do this."

The Utah case is the first to reach a federal appellate court since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act in U.S. v. Windsor last summer. That case figures to play a prominent role in Thursday's oral arguments.

A year ago last month, Derek Kitchen and Moudi Sbeity, Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge, and Karen Archer and Kate Call challenged Utah's law against same-sex marriage in federal court.

U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby's ruling last December upended Utah's voter-approved Amendment 3 defining marriage as between a man and a woman. He found the law violates the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment.

Utah appealed Shelby's decision and obtained a stay from the Supreme Court but not before about 1,300 same-sex couples were married in Utah. The 10th Circuit will decide whether to affirm or reverse his ruling.

In Windsor, the high court struck down the section of DOMA that defines marriage as between a man and a woman for purposes of federal law, ruling that the government must give the same benefits to gay married couples as it does to heterosexual married couples.

Utah contends Windsor also recognizes the state's authority to define and regulate marriage. The plaintiffs argue that any state definition of marriage must be constitutional.

Since the high court ruling on DOMA, eight federal judges, including Shelby, have struck down state bans on gay marriage or on the recognition of same-sex marriage from other states. Those states are Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennesee, Texas, Utah and Virginia.

Kentucky has filed notice that it will appeal a federal ruling that it must recognize same-sex marriages from other states, making nine state whose cases are on appeal.

Utah's case is a week ahead of one in Oklahoma, which is scheduled for oral arguments in the 10th Circuit next Thursday. The same three judges will hear both cases.

Email: romboy@deseretnews.com, Twitter: dennisromboy

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1. USU-Logan
Logan, UT,
April 9, 2014

Mark my words:
The appeal court will uphold Judge Shelby's ruling and marriage equality will prevail!

2. Outside-View
Federal Way, WA,
April 9, 2014

The Tenth Circuit Court is about as negative toward Utah political positions as the Colorado Ski industry is negative toward Utah ski industry.

Plus, Utahs case is pretty weak.

The studys about parenthood involving gay parents being less than what heterosexual parents provide were recently shown to be biased in the extreme becuase of the Evengelical sponors/writers. I think the key issue in that regard is the stability and commitmenet of the parents. One thing you would generally recognize about gay parents, is that they want to be parents. That is true becuase they often have to go through more to get children.

I think the legal marriage case is over. Next will be to move on to provide ways for people to legally not be forced to participate in gay marriages etc.

3. Meckofahess
Salt Lake City, UT,
April 9, 2014

From MSN news today:

"Have you heard about these stats? Although lesbian/gay marriage and even civil unions haven't been around very long, early studies suggest that lesbian couples are 50-167 percent more likely to divorce than heterosexual couples, and nearly twice as likely to divorce compared to gay men".

Another important reason to support traditional marriage between a man and a woman. One of the great myths that the gay community tries to foist upon society is that their "relationships" are stable and long standing. In reality they have many partners and short term relationships on average.

4. Stormwalker
Cleveland , OH,
April 9, 2014

@Outside-View: Next will be to move on to provide ways for people to legally not be forced to participate in gay marriages etc.

The bloodiest war in American history was fought because one group of Americans thought their religious beliefs gave them a right to mistreat and enslave another group of people. At that same time in history Johnson's Army was sent to Utah because the majority of Americans disagreed with the form of marriage practiced in Utah - and both sides claimed their actions were sanctioned by their firm religious beliefs. Segregation, often based on claims of religious propriety, lasted for decades and included lynchings and mistreatment and only ended with government force.

How about if we don't take a step backward. Because starting with "My religion says I can discriminate against Gay Weddings" will only lead to bad places, all backed by claims of God allowing this or that group to be treated with disdain.

How about this: "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you."

5. Moderate
Salt Lake City, UT,
April 9, 2014

Meckofahess "Have you heard about these stats?...early studies suggest"
I was unaware that rights are dependent on the outcome of studies.

I don't recall that before giving women the right to vote, we did studies to determine if they'd actually vote. Nor do I recall Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat on a bus, because she wanted someone to "do some studies".

Don't be a glass-half-empty person. If 33% of gay marriages don't end in divorce, that means 33% of gay marriages are successful. Why would you deny happiness to those 33%?