Federal Courts Strike Down Gay Marriage Bans in Indiana, Utah
Two federal courts struck down state marriage laws in Utah and Indiana against same-sex unions Wednesday, continuing a sweep of rulings that all find that people have a constitutional right to marry someone of the same sex.
In a 2-1 ruling from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, judges agreed with a lower-court ruling that Utah’s voter-approved constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman violated equal protection guarantees in the U.S. Constitution.
“We hold that the 14th Amendment protects the fundamental right to marry, establish a family, raise children, and enjoy the full protection of a state’s marital laws,” wrote Judges Carlos F. Lucero and Jerome A. Holmes. “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.”
The two judges stayed their decision, pending appeal, in the case filed by Derek Kitchen and Moudi Sbeity and other gay couples against Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert and other state officials.
Dissenting 10th Circuit Judge Paul J. Kelly Jr., said the 14th Amendment does not require Utah to extend marriage licenses to same-sex couples or recognize such unions from other states.
“If the states are the laboratories of democracy,” he said, “requiring every state to recognize same-gender unions — contrary to the views of its electorate and representatives — turns the notion of a limited national government on its head.”