Thursday, June 26, 2014

10th Circuit Says Utah's Same-Sex Marriage Ban Is Unconstitutional

In Kitchen v. Herbert, (10th Cir., June 25, 2014), the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in a 2-1 decision struck down Utah's ban on same-sex marriage, but stayed its mandate pending disposition of any appeal. The majority summarized its 66-page opinion:
We hold that the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right to marry, establish a family, raise children, and enjoy the full protection of a state’s marital laws. A state may not deny the issuance of a marriage license to two persons, or refuse to recognize their marriage, based solely upon the sex of the persons in the marriage union.
Among the justifications rejected by the court was Utah's argument that allowing same-sex marriage "would create the potential for religious-related strife."  Judge Kelly dissenting in part argued that there is no fundamental right to same-gender marriage.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports on the decision. In a statement released yesterday, the Utah attorney general's office says it will file a petition for certiorari seeking Supreme Court review.