1. says

    Bravo Judge Shelby!

    Nailed it. Perfectly. Regulation of marriage is states right but must be within US Constitution guarantees of equality.

    ‘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.’

  2. woody says

    Now, Brian… take the gun out of your mouth.
    Everything will be ok.
    You can still take your eight kids and move to Russia or Saudi Arabia or North Korea where your views are supported by the governments and courts.

  3. simon says

    First New Mexico, now Utah. Brian Brown seems to have disappeared and is strangely silent.
    May be he is planning to get out of the business of marriage. Things are really getting tough for him.

  4. says

    This was Judge Shelby’s moment of courage and he was up to the task. He didn’t let irrational prejudices sway him from seeing to it that everyone in his care has the same legal standing and protections.

    Thank you Judge Shelby!

  5. woody says

    He did not stay his decision pending an appeal, though the state will likey appeal according to the salt lake tribune. People can apply for marriage licenses now, so weddings should follow relatively quickly.
    Ah… Utah… it’s feeling like the fat lady has sung!

  6. Francis says

    This happened in Utah. Utah. The state of Utah.

    Yes, there will be an appeal and we’ll see what happens from there, likely the state will file for an emergency injunction. But yeah…we’ve won. It’s over.

  7. louis says

    Can’t believe this is happening. I thought I would never live to see this day. My husband (who works at America First Federal Credit Union) was told I could not be added to his health insurance because Utah law did not recognize same sex marriage. They will not be able to discriminate much longer!! It’s incredible!

    Hatred and bigotry will be defeated, even when it’s written into law. I knew this day would come, I just thought it would be much longer before it happened.

  8. woody says

    If the state appeals, the case will go to the 10th circuit court in Denver. That court has five judges appointed by the bushes and five judges appointed by either obama or clinton. Even split. There are two vacancies, which I guess president obama can fill now that the republicans in the senate can’t filibuster judicial appointees below the supreme court level.

  9. Francis says

    10th Circuit isn’t the most liberal court, wish it were the 9th Circuit. In any case, if the 10th Circuit does reverse this ruling, the fact of the matter is—the question of marriage equality is headed to SCOTUS. Soon.

  10. Troubletown says

    Agree with comment by DAN (above)

    The fact that the judge cited Scalia’s tantrum in the Windsor dissent as part of this justification for overturning the Utah ban is just delicious, delicious, delicious…

    “The Constitution’s protection of the individual rights of gay and lesbian citizens is equally dispositive whether this protection requires a court to respect a state law, as in
    Windsor, or strike down a state law, as the Plaintiffs ask the court to do here. In his dissenting opinion, the Honorable Antonin Scalia recognized that this result was the logical outcome of the Court’s ruling in Windsor

    SCALIA ‘In my opinion, however, the view that this
    Court will take of state prohibition of same-sex marriage is indicated beyond mistaking by today’s opinion. As I havesaid, the real rationale of today’s opinion . . . is that DOMA is motivated by “bare. . . desire to harm” couples in same-sex marriages. How easy it is, indeed how inevitable, to reach the same conclusion with regard to state laws denying same-sex couples marital status.133 S. Ct. at 2709 (citations and internal quotation marks omitted)’

    THE COURT AGREES WITH JUSTICE SCALIA’S INTERPRETATION OF WINDSOR and finds that the important federalism concerns at issue hereare nevertheless insufficient to save a state-law prohibition that denies the Plaintiffs their rights to due process and equal protection under the law”

  11. Mike says

    Utah folks…UTAH! UTAH!…..WE WON!

    Take it to the supreme court by 2015 the latest. No reason to stall after that. Justice delayed is many LGBT folks gone before able to experience full equality.

  12. says

    Reading the Shelby ruling. Amazed at his clarity & scope. So many parts stand out …

    Indeed, Amendment 3 went beyond denying gay and lesbian individuals the right to marry and held that no domestic union could be given the same or substantially equivalent legal effect as marriage. This wording suggests that the imposition of inequality was not merely the law’s effect, but its goal.

  13. says

    Agreed, @Seriously. It’s a thrilling and surprisingly entertaining read. We loved the part where the judge says the state’s basic argument, We just don’t know, is not persuasive.

  14. says

    Shelby ruling …

    While Utah exercises the “unquestioned authority” to regulate and define marriage,
    , 133 S. Ct. at 2693,

    it must nevertheless do so in a way that does not infringe the constitutional rights of its citizens. See id. at 2692 (noting that the “incidents, benefits, and obligations of marriage” may vary from state to state but are still “subject to constitutional guarantees”).

  15. Mary says

    I’m happy for the couples in Utah who can now marry, but I’m not at all happy that this change is increasingly happening through court decisions rather than legislative bills and/or public referenda. I know that the former involves a quick win, but this isn’t the same as a solid win accompanied by the important legitimacy that social change needs to become permanent. This is sure to inflame anti-gay sentiment even more – Utah being such a religious state should have been left for last. It has the furthest to travel in changing opinions and needed more time for its people to evolve. While gay couples marrying now is justice, provoking unnecessary backlashes that will be paid for by gay people of the future (some of whom are too young to be responsible for any of today’s actions) is a huge INjustice.

    Unfortunately, I think this gives NOM a new lease on life. The gay rights movement had done unbelievably well in the last few years – winning legislative victories, gaining acceptance of stigmatizing homophobia, converting people from the opposition, etc.. But now it’s starting to validate the right-wing claim that gays want a powerful Left-wing government to enforce liberal values and will hound out of the public forum anyone who holds views on homosexuality that were commonplace and non-controversial until 5 or 6 years ago (e.g the Robertson firing.) Many in mainstream America who were becoming more liberal and open-minded about sexual orientation will question whether the changes of the past few years have been a mistake.

    I hope I’m wrong.

  16. says

    Shelby wrote this as though it were for/from SCOTUS. Reminds me of Walkers ruling on Prop 8 but with more ammo.

    Remember immediately after SCOTUS ruled on DOMA when Brian Brown, NOM, & the hate groups were claiming ‘victory’ because there was no explicit language about same-sex marriage’?

    Seems like Judge Shelby read the same parts of Windsor that we did … ‘subject to constitutional guarantees’.

  17. Troubletown says

    @Mary, the concern troll, is concerned.

    Replace the topic with the judicial fiat on interracial marriage and see why you and your NOM friends are losing.

  18. pedro says

    Mary as a racial minority…all I have to say to your concerns is…eff off!. If the courts had never intervened the only place I would be allowed in this contry is some field picking fruits for white people’s tables…The bigots will have a coniption…then they will get on with their miserable lives. Justice delayed is justice denied. Again I sincerely say to you to f#ck off with your concern troll b.s.

  19. Mary says

    Pedro, it’s a question of how much can be done through the courts before the price for such victories is too high. Prices are not always immediately visible. Effective political strategy always involves planning to avert potential disasters and assessing which tactics will be the most effective long-term. Why can’t you disagree without questioning my motives?

    Going more slowly on marriage equality by waiting for public referenda strikes me as the ideal strategy for two reasons. One, it gives the most reluctant segment of society time to adust to the changes. And second, each victory is all the sweeter because you can say to NOM “Sorry Brian, but the people in Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, etc. HAVE spoken – and they voted for equality.” But now NOM can cling to its “unelected judges” mantra and use it to drum up more support. I believe that seeing the other side give up is more important than getting gay couples in non-equality states the right to marry soon. It’s a question of what gets us to a truly pro-equality society as opposed to an artificially forced one.

  20. Johnny says

    Judge Robert J Shelby was appointed a federal judge in this district over Utah by none other than Barrack Obama.

    I am a religious conservative and yes I hope the people of Utah rise up against this blatant attack on our values.

    This social and psychiatric experiment is disgusting.

  21. says

    Can you at the very least have the decency to not throw wet blankets on a moment of celebration? The ink is barely dry on Shelby’s ruling and here you are offering excuses (yet again) why we should temper justice and measure it to fit a comfort standard for our oppressors.

    Support for marriage equality is growing exactly because we’ve taken on every challenger to equality from bigoted cake baker to heads of governments worldwide and exposed their lies and prejudices for what they really are.

    If you want bowing down and chest bashing in woe and worry about what might happen because of hard won justice then go to GOProud or one of the hate sites.

  22. Francis says

    Support for marriage equality isn’t really growing in Utah, though. Only about 30% support in Utah. And less than 20% with Mormons. So that’s what makes this ruling all the more special, to me. Yes, support nationally is growing, but lets be honest, a lot of states still do not support. But equality is coming to their backyards, like it or not.

  23. anon says

    Mary, there is such a thing as an “avalanche” win in politics, where the victory is so comprehensive the opponents can’t organize a response. It hasn’t happened yet, but if you think about it, where are they going to focus their resources now? They’ve just lost New Jersey, New Mexico and Utah within 60 days and Illinois is up for grabs. If you look at where they are focusing now, it’s in Indiana, which is a rearguard action. If a few more states change sides how are they going to organize a response?

  24. says

    @Mary, you keep predicting that this and that will give NOM a new lease on life, and you’ve been wrong every time.

    Constitutions matter in the USA. Judges who rule in accordance with the Constitution are not artificially forcing anything; they’re doing exactly what they’re supposed to do. If it were left to you, Loving v Virginia would never have happened, or would have happened decades after it did. Your civil rights philosophy is quite un-American. Stop typing and read the decision. It tells you all you need to know.

    @Johnny: You can’t rise up against the Constitution, however religiously conservative you may be.

  25. says

    POF Francis
    Marriage Equality support in Utah is at 30%, what was it in 2004? In 2008? Wow! Growing.
    Utah support for equality (not called marriage) is at 60% Also growing.
    Non Mormons support 63% … one of the highest in the country, and growing.

  26. JJ says

    Mary, you’ve got it backwards. The court decisions that are happening now are the measured, long-coming backlash against those who rushed to enact discrimination into law. This has been long predicted from the very beginning. The ideal strategy for your co-haters would have been to first–years ago–patiently undertake the long, necessary process of amending the Constitution to remove its guantee of equality. Now it’s too late, and without those amendments the more reluctant segments of society aren’t entitled to time to adjust to the changes at the expense of someone else’s rights.

  27. SteveInSRQ says

    Personally, I particularly enjoyed the section of the opinion that suggested that, under the old law and constitutional prohibition, gay couples had their Second Amendment rights to bear arms but were prohibited from buying bullets. Is that an old, often-used quote, or was that new?

  28. Richard says

    Thank you, Troubletown. It really is delightful to read Scalia’s words quoted in the decision. I can just see the smoke coming out of his fat little bigoted Catholic ears. Way to go, Judge Shelby.

  29. Francis says

    Marriage equality support, well, in 2004, a marriage ban passed in the state with 66% support. So numbers today aren’t much different than the results then, 10 years ago @seriously. Civil union support is up, and that’s great, it shows that even in Utah, most do believe in some form of equality and recognition, but when it comes to marriage, most Utahans are not there.

    JJ is right. Mary, you right-wingers had the chance to pass a constitutional amendment banning same-sex equality. You didn’t take it. When Hawaii essentially ruled that there was no basis to ban marriage equality, in 93, your side panicked and passed all sorts of hate laws. DOMA, state bans. It was a band-aid. The band-aid has been ripped off. Equality is here, who cares whether the populous in some of these states agree with that or not? There have been threats of backlash for years. It’s not going to come.

  30. Randy says

    I do encourage reading the entire ruling.

    It shows how important the Prop 8 and DOMA cases were, citing them both.

    Also, you don’t want to miss things like this: “The State’s prohibition of the Plaintiffs’ right to choose a same-sex marriage partner renders their fundamental right to marry as meaningless as if the State recognized the Plaintiffs’ right to bear arms but not their right to buy bullets.”

  31. Randy says

    “But heterosexual individuals are as likely to exercise their purported right to same-sex marriage as gay men and lesbians are to exercise their purported right to opposite-sex marriage.”


  32. Randy says

    The laws and amendment are struck down “…to the extent these laws prohibit a person from marrying another person of the same sex.”

    I’m assuming this is a reference to 30-1-2, which includes a list of several kinds of marriages that are not valid in Utah, with part (5) being same-sex.

    Regarding the other law and the amendment, it may also mean that the state can continue to ban civil unions, domestic partnerships, and so on, perhaps even only for same-sex couples.

  33. Merv says

    Mary isn’t totally wrong. It’s always better to have an opposition that is depressed rather than angry. It’s almost certain that change will come to Utah only through the courts, but timing-wise it might have been better if it were preceded by victories in states such as Oregon, Nevada, and Colorado — all Western and all with significant Mormon populations, but less likely to freak out. That said, the decision was the correct one.

    Regarding Johnny’s post about Judge Shelby being appointed by Obama… That’s true, but he was appointed on recommendation of Republican Senator Orrin Hatch.

  34. John says

    @Johnny: You say, “I am a religious conservative and yes I hope the people of Utah rise up against this blatant attack on our values.” Ok, I was raised as a catholic, and I have a reasonable understanding of that religion.

    It is a mortal sin to not go to confession at least once a year. So how long does anyone that does not go to confession have to spend in jail? It doesn’t matter what religion you believe in, if you do not go to confession within the year, obviously you must be punished. If you say that you do not believe in confessing to a priest, tuff luck! The church says you must do it! Or do you pick and choose which rules to follow!

    There is a separation of church and state in this country, so as soon as you say “The Bible says …….” Your argument goes out the window. The Federal Government has ruled that marriage is an inalienable right. That goes for everyone in the USA, and it must be applied without any invocation of the bible! After all, where does the bible come from? Please do not say God, a simple question in Google, and the responses can not even confirm the source, but certainly can confirm that some sources are not as described!

    So, we have to look at the secular establishment of marriage, which has been in existence for many years. As the judge said, the states establish the rules of marriage, BUT that MUST be done within the requirements of the US Constitution!

    Also if you feel that you have the right to vote on my ability to marry, then obviously, I certainly have the right to vote on woman’s right to vote, of on any right that you feel you have the right to!

  35. Bill says

    @John: Your response was not fair to Johnny in one respect. Johnny claimed he was a religious conservative, not a Catholic religious conservative. So, the Catholic church’s rules about “confession” may not apply to Johnny as Johnny may not be Catholic. Maybe he’s a snake-handler type of religious conservative. Who knows?

    The one thing that Johnny seems to share with every type of religious conservative is the belief that if you deviate from his particular beliefs in the slightest, you spend eternity in the boiler room, or rather inside the boiler itself. But look at the bright side of things. At least Hell is cooler than the surface of Venus (if you take the Biblical stuff literally). It seems that Revelations 21:8 goes on about a lake that “burneth with fire and brimstone,” but brimstone is sulfur and its boiling point is 444.6 C, compared to the average surface temperature on Venus of 460 C.

  36. ben~andy says

    I’ve read the decision and am 1/2 way through the NM Supreme’s decision. They are singing harmony. It is the same arguments, but only referencing the NM Constitution [which also includes sexual orientation protection].

    I’m amazed at the flat-footed response of the UT management. Today, Judge Shelby explained that if they’d wanted him to grant a stay, as was done in Judge Walker’s court on Prop 8, they’d have needed to ask for it before he ruled. Now, maybe the resignation of the UT AG [on bribery/ influence peddling charges]left the 2nd string in command. Maybe the Right Honorable Judge Shelby threw off their timing by saying he’d rule by 1/9/14 and showed what an overachiever he can be. And maybe they thought, “Well, what are the chances he’s actually going to find for THEM anyway?” But to not know how to file for a stay with your own Circuit Court of Appeals? I think it is the last. And they’re gobsmacked.

    And Mary, sorry, but there isn’t A Gay Agenda. The 3 sets of couples in this lawsuit all had powerful reasons to file it. I guess they didn’t get the memo that said, “We’re going to leave Utah for last because the Mormon Church is our biggest foe, now that Benedict has stepped down and Francis is saying hopeful things.” I live in CA and they came after us. I have simply never been happier and I got married on 7/1/13, the first day I could w/o going to SF the weekend before. I wore crocs and carried a can of paint. I was buying the $99 Federal Rights Upgrade from my previous status of Domestically Partnered w/ only some state and employer rights from my [now] husband’s employer [the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, btw].

    Oh, and fyi, while NM and UT were decided by Courts, only 1/3 of the NINE that have happened in 2013 are court-centric. The other 6 were popular vote or legislature. We’re winning because we’re pursuing all strategies. We’re not taking no for an answer and we’re not waiting for anyone to give it to us w/o asking. Backlash? Bring it. I’d even be bashed to get hate crimes legislation on the books. The same argument, to go slow, was put forward on the Prop 8 case. This was FAST only in the fact that two of the couples were denied marriage licenses in MARCH of 2013! That is lightening speed in the court system. And it only took a 4 hour hearing. Judge Walker took DAYS of testimony.

    And finally, the most cogent thing said today was by Peggy Tomsic, plaintiff’s attorney: “The ‘cloud of confusion’ the defendants talk about occurs only in their own minds, not anyone else’s.” Yes, they’re reeling. Their world is gone with the wind. Kinda feels like it does when you suddenly realize you’re gay and that’s not ok with everyone. Ya gotta deal with that. Ya gotta think about that one. And it makes you stronger and you adapt. Yes, they will but they’re running out of corners. If the Supremes knock out the other part of DOMA, on the Full Faith and Credit Clause, it will be done. Then, we’ll be able to get married anyplace [Hawaii, CA, WA, DC] and go home and BE married, just like straight people going to Vegas. And yet it doesn’t stay in Vegas. That is the most blatantly unconstitutional part of DOMA because CONGRESS cannot override the Constitution either and the Full Faith and Credit Clause was put in for this exact reason: to allow the citizens of these United States to be able to follow the law in one jurisdiction and not me penalized or have their status change in a different jurisdiction.

    And I’m just gonna say it: Robert Shelby is my new “pinup boy” and if he’s straight, I want the pick of the litter.

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