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Utah To Spend $2 Million Defending Gay Marriage Ban: VIDEO


Following U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby’s landmark decision that found Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage, known as Amendment 3, unconstitutional, hundreds of same-sex couples were wed in the Beehive State. Despite the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals' unwillingness to grant a stay of Judge Shelby’s ruling, the state and its new Attorney General, Sean Reyes, announced their plans to seek an emergency stay from the U.S. Supreme Court. Though the AG and the state have yet to file this request, the AP reports that Reyes has met with state lawmakers and is requesting $2 million to hire outside counsel to help win the case:

Lockhart"We need the best we can get," House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo, told KSL-TV "He (Reyes) is coming into this, frankly, in the middle."

Reyes is set to be sworn into office on Monday.

After hearing the projected cost, Lockhart said the House Republican majority leadership "felt comfortable telling him, 'Move forward with what you think is in the best interest of the state.'"

She said she has learned from other lawmakers that their constituents are willing to defend the constitutional amendment in court even if it means spending more money.

"To go through the court process on an issue that, on a 2-to-1 vote, the people of our state felt was important to have in our constitution, I think is of value," the speaker told KSL.

Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, said he would likely be willing to appropriate the funds for outside counsel.

"This is a big deal for the Legislature and for Utah," he said.

Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem, said additional attorneys were needed.

"We should be paying for the best and the brightest," he said. "This is a case that is not only a historic precedent, but it's one that really goes to the core of what states' rights is all about."

Support for the hiring of outside counsel came not only from within the ranks of Republican lawmakers, as KSL Utah reports:

Sutherland Institute President Paul Mero said the conservative think tank has already called for the attorney general to appoint outside counsel on the Amendment 3 case.

"We've been very disappointed with counsel in the A.G.'s office to date," Mero said. "And we think given that Sean is new in that seat, that outside counsel would make sense."

LGBT rights watchdog HRC has meanwhile denounced the proposed spending of tax dollars to defend a bigoted law:

"Defending discrimination while expending millions of taxpayer dollars to do it is beyond explanation," the HRC said. "It should be an affront to all Utahns that their hard-earned tax dollars — dollars that should be going into schools, roads or health programs — will instead be used to be on the wrong side of history."

Watch a news clip on how Utah's doubling down to defeat gay marriage AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. I feel bad for those homeless, hungry, sick and just struggling, for this is how their Government decides to spend its treasure.

    Posted by: Jay | Dec 29, 2013 1:46:11 PM

  2. So TEA party says they're Taxed Enough Already and that's where their taxes go? Such a hypocrisy!

    Posted by: litper | Dec 29, 2013 1:51:03 PM

  3. Surprising-not at all. LDS, Inc. runs the theocratic state of Utah. Look how much the Mormon Taliban spent in CA to promote their intolerance, hate and bigotry. They would spend 5x the 2M mentioned in this article.

    Posted by: Nick | Dec 29, 2013 2:17:09 PM

  4. I hear that that Clement guy is available for $1.5M...

    Posted by: bkmn | Dec 29, 2013 2:20:32 PM

  5. Mor(m)on pigs

    Posted by: MaryM | Dec 29, 2013 2:21:06 PM

  6. I think it should be noted that Utah's television station KSL is owned by the Mormon church and all of their news reporting on this issue has been less than celebratory, focusing instead on the "good fight" to overturn Judge Shelby's ruling no matter what the cost.

    Posted by: Brian Johnson | Dec 29, 2013 2:26:56 PM

  7. 2 million dollars down the toilet! We need more dumb decisions like that. And yes, the Mormon hierarchy are morons. Time for the 'prophet' to have one more of them there "revelations".

    Posted by: Joseph | Dec 29, 2013 2:27:23 PM

  8. LGBT’s money is used against the LGBT community.

    Posted by: Andy Towlette | Dec 29, 2013 2:29:03 PM

  9. What a clever, resourceful and innovative use of Utah's taxpayer dollars!

    Posted by: jamal49 | Dec 29, 2013 2:35:06 PM

  10. Republican are evil and Mormon cultists are evil; they're working together to create evil -- including the evil of wasting a fortune of taxpayer dollars on evil when people are starving -- is the only sort of marriage either one of them cares about.

    Posted by: oncemorewithfeeling | Dec 29, 2013 2:48:05 PM

  11. I wonder when the rest of the Utah population are going to wake up and put an end to the theocracy in Utah?

    Posted by: gordon | Dec 29, 2013 3:20:44 PM

  12. It may be that the best thing that can happen for marriage equality is for those opposed to hire the best attorneys they can to defend their position. When the public as well as the judges see that even the best attorneys cannot gather forceful arguments against equality, it will hasten the day when we are all free.

    Posted by: Damien | Dec 29, 2013 4:28:25 PM

  13. Despite their public statement, HRC may secretly want Utah to fight it to the Supreme Court. There is some chance it will lead to the overturn of all the marriage bans nationwise. If the House Repugs were not so eager to take DOMA to the Supreme Court, the dominoes would not have fallen so fast.

    Posted by: simon | Dec 29, 2013 4:34:19 PM

  14. um, haven't we already seen their "best and brightest" at work already?

    Posted by: deedrdo | Dec 29, 2013 5:00:16 PM

  15. Wow, talk about fiscal conservatism at its best!

    On the other hand, this 2 million dollars (and likely higher) may well bring marriage equality across the 50 states.

    Posted by: NY2.0 | Dec 29, 2013 5:00:39 PM

  16. fortunately, your 'best and brightest' already support gay marriage.

    Posted by: Tristram | Dec 29, 2013 5:11:38 PM

  17. omg! You would think these Republicans were fighting for their last breath!! If you read the wording carefully, you really wonder what about marriage equality is so scary for them to react this way.......this goes beyond the bible stuff..........

    Posted by: Bernie | Dec 29, 2013 5:38:24 PM

  18. Is there anyone out there who is TRUELY surprised by this, I'm amazed it's not more.

    Posted by: I wont grow up | Dec 29, 2013 5:49:50 PM

  19. Spend all you want, Utah. It won't do a bit of good. The constitution, the case law, the opinions of trial and appellate courts--all these and more are coming down on Utah like a ton of bricks. No more state's rights BS. This isn't 1861 and Utah isn't the 14th state of the old confederacy. No state has the right or authority to nullify the 14th amendment's guarantee of equal protection of the law and due process to every citizen. So appeal away, Utah. That's what we want: a final, definitive ruling from SCOTUS that sweeps away every anti-gay marriage ban in the entire country. You have a rendezvous with history, Utah--as a loser!

    Posted by: Jim | Dec 29, 2013 6:35:34 PM

  20. In the end, gays will be proven to be better parents, with longer, more committed relationships, and better role models to people around the globe. I would be scared as well if I were on the wrong side of the marriage issue. They are about to be shown up.

    Posted by: ty | Dec 29, 2013 6:44:42 PM

  21. Hmmm...they could be spending 20 million to offer assistance to patience with high debt because of illness, or assistance to parents with ill children, or various cancer research funds, or infrastructure upgrades, or higher pay for civil workers, or...or...or...No, this is the BS they'd rather spend they're money on. It's not just in Africa where bigotry is so well funded and decidedly focused.

    Posted by: Todd | Dec 29, 2013 7:19:47 PM

  22. My guess is that they would have agreed to spend $200M. If that could guarantee them a win they'd have gone for it. It won't. When you read and see the general public reactions to the Utah ruling you realize that they understand what is at stake here. The LGBT struggle for equality is bigger than civil rights, it's bigger than states rights. It's the defining aspect of democracy vs theocracy. As Justice Daniels queried opposition litigator in New Mexico when he said 'This is about religion. You want your religious views codified into law.' They voted 9-0 against that because they understood the larger premise. When religious tenets replace constitutional guarantees of equality you have a theocracy and when that happens no one outside that power base is equal.

    They'll try to hire Clementi. He may turn them down this time. He could go for the money & reason it out that every side should have the best lawyers arguing their side. Or he could counsel them that they're fighting on the wrong side in a battle they will never win.

    Posted by: SERIOUSLY | Dec 29, 2013 9:11:45 PM


    Posted by: Lexis | Dec 29, 2013 9:14:21 PM

  24. "It's the defining aspect of democracy vs theocracy"
    That's the crux of it. The only way to truly justify an objection to gay marriage is to do so from the perspective of Abrahamic theology. So, once that falls, once we don't let that arbitrarily dictate our civil society, Abrahamic theology loses a lot of its sociological power.

    Posted by: EchtKultig | Dec 29, 2013 10:53:26 PM

  25. Not the mention the practical reason that, as I've noted before, internalized homophobia is a huge recruiting tool for evangelical Christian and non-trinitarian (e.g., Mormon) faiths. Anything that threatens that, threatens their bottom line.

    Posted by: EchtKultig | Dec 29, 2013 11:08:33 PM

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