Quantcast
Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014

Couples in Utah same-sex marriage case ask Supreme Court to hear state's appeal

By Dennis Romboy, Deseret News

Published: Thu, Aug. 28 5:20 p.m. MDT

 Plaintiffs Moudi Sbeity and Derek Kitchen, and Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge hug during a press conference regarding a federal appeals court decision on same-sex marriage in Salt Lake City Wednesday, June 25, 2014. The 10th Circuit Court upheld a federal district court ruling that made same-sex marriage legal in Utah.

Plaintiffs Moudi Sbeity and Derek Kitchen, and Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge hug during a press conference regarding a federal appeals court decision on same-sex marriage in Salt Lake City Wednesday, June 25, 2014. The 10th Circuit Court upheld a federal district court ruling that made same-sex marriage legal in Utah.

(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News archives)

SALT LAKE CITY — The three couples challenging Utah's ban on same-sex marriage asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday to accept the state's request to hear the case.

Lawyers for the couples said earlier this month that even though they won at the district and appellate court levels, they intended to support the state's petition because the issue needs to be settled nationwide.

"At stake in this case is the liberty of an entire class of Americans who urgently need a ruling from this court that they are able to marry and to have their marriages recognized on an equal basis with other citizens," according to the brief.

The Utah Attorney General's Office argued in its Aug. 5 petition that Kitchen v. Herbert is the ideal vehicle to decide whether the Constitution compels states to adopt a single marriage policy allowing people to "marry the person of their choice," as the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed in June.

The state argues that ruling deprives Utah voters of their right to define marriage as they overwhelmingly did in passing Amendment 3 in 2004.

"It comes down to this: Thousands of couples are unconstitutionally being denied the right to marry, or millions of voters are being disenfranchised of their vote to define marriage," the state wrote.

Derek Kitchen and Moudi Sbeity, Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge, and Karen Archer and Kate Call filed a lawsuit against Utah's ban on same-sex marriage in federal court. Archer and Call married in Iowa and claim Utah law bars them from being treated the same as heterosexual couples because it does not recognize their marriage.

The couples argue in the brief that because lower court rulings do not apply across the country, same-sex couples continue to experience great uncertainty and serious harm.

"Laurie and I have been together for many years, and we want to be treated as equal citizens, with our relationship honored the same way that the marriages of our parents, family members and friends have been respected," Partridge said in a statement. "We hope the Supreme Court will recognize that our longstanding relationship deserves the same respect that other couples receive through marriage."

U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby struck down Utah's law defining marriage as between a man and a woman last December, ruling it violates equal protection guarantees in the 14th Amendment.

The state appealed Shelby's decision to the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court and obtained a stay from the Supreme Court, but not before about 1,300 same-sex couples married in the state. The 10th Circuit upheld Shelby's ruling.

Peggy Tomsic, the plaintiff's lead attorney, said she hopes the Supreme Court will take the case and affirm the appellate court's decision.

“This is one country, and we have only one Constitution," she said in a statement.

The state argued in its Supreme Court petition that rewriting the Constitution to impose the 10th Circuit’s marriage definition on each state has consequences.

"It communicates that the marriage institution is more about adults than children. It teaches that mothers and fathers are interchangeable and therefore expendable. And it instills an incentive that citizens seeking social change should use the courts, rather than the democratic process, to achieve it," the state contends.

Email: romboy@deseretnews.com

Twitter: dennisromboy

Related Stories
Recommended
1. george of the jungle
goshen, UT,
Aug. 28, 2014

What is worthy of respect. Respect is earned. I think that a common denominator is the future unborn. They should be held as being sacred to every one. The facts of life, the cardinal rule and the law of the land, you can be friends, believe in what you want sacred trumps ya.

2. koseighty
The Shire, UT,
Aug. 28, 2014

@george of the jungle,

A very good reason that these couples need their unions recognized by the state. Many of them have (or will have) children and those children deserve the security of knowing that both their parents can and will be there for them.

Just one of the many reasons to support marriage equality.

3. george of the jungle
goshen, UT,
Aug. 29, 2014

Sorrow and dreams bring people together. Ideology divides them.

4. Lane Myer
Salt Lake City, UT,
Aug. 29, 2014

George otj: Please tell me what you would do for those children who are being raised by gay couples? Would you remove them from their parents? Would you just say, "too bad!" Or would you want to support these children by allowing them to grow up in the most stable environment possible, allowing their parents (the two people who are raising these children) to be able to adopt their step-children and to get married?

What is your plan for these children? Do you even think about these children?

You do know that gays adopt children (while they are single here in Utah), have children from previous marriages, use IVF to impregnant lesbians and surrogacy for gay men to raise their own children. Would you outlaw these methods?

How are you going to stop gays and lesbians from raising children? If you do not have a plan for that, what is your plan for the children who are (or will be) raised by gays?