Utah’s New AG Vows to ‘Spend Whatever it Takes’ to Defend Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, who was sworn into office yesterday, wasted no time in preparing his state's strategy for defending its ban on same-sex marriage. The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

Sean ReyesReyes said that whatever the price tag, the expense of defending Amendment 3, approved by 66 percent of voters in 2004, will be worth it.

"We’re willing to spend whatever it takes to protect the laws and the will of the people," he said. "Our commitment to the people is if we don’t have [expertise] internally, we’ll find the best to represent the state."

[Governor Gary] Herbert met with Reyes Monday afternoon to review the state’s options and strategy. He said it was important to ensure that whatever money is spent is "well spent" and "appropriate.

"This issue deserves a good discussion and good airing," Herbert said. "The important thing is we have a democratic process, a judicial process, that needs to be complete. All people on all sides of this issue want to have it complete so it’s resolved. Whether it is resolved the way we all want, who knows?"

Reyes added that while he believes recent U.S. Supreme Court cases will aid his side because they give deference to the state in making decision on the definition of marriage, the court ultimately failed to address the issue definitively. 

"And because of that, they left open interpretation not only by Judge Shelby but other federal judges," Reyes said. "So whether Judge Shelby ruled as he did or if he would have ruled against the plaintiffs, one side or the other would have appealed because I think everybody benefits from having the process takes its course through the appellate process and hopefully getting a final word from the Supreme Court on this issue that will give us all some closure."

Reyes also said that an application for stay is likely to be filed sometime today with the Supreme Court.  


  1. Will says

    Ya because this is a good use of time and money. Why the hell would he want to waste people’s money on an issue that’s been dealt with and there’s no way it will ever be reversed?

  2. Ironic Serendipity says

    Please push it all the way to SCOTUS so we hae marriage in all 50 states. Conservatives cannot help themselves, so it’ll ultimatley be for our benefit.

  3. dam846201 says

    I dare say, 10 years later, many attitudes in the state of Utah have changed. It’s a pity Herbert & Reyes didn’t grow & change as the rest of Utah has! And is it just me, or is Reyes statement re the Courts’ interpretation of the law disjointed and unreadable? Mr Reyes, love is love and no amount of legislation will keep me from loving the man with whom I’ve spent the last 10 remarkable years! Marriage Equality is the right way to go!

  4. Dave says

    Yes, if the “will of the people” is to discriminate, fight to uphold it. Because America, or humanity in general, should not even try to aspire to be greater than that. Moron.

  5. HadenoughBS says

    “We’re willing to spend whatever it takes to protect the laws and the will of the people” so sayeth Utah’s new AG.

    Seems to me we fought a civil war over the same kind of sentiment. Using a law approved by a majority to subjugate a minority to second class citizenship is unconstitutional and unsustainable.

    So, get over it Utah, since the restoration of the Union, the majority (usually WASPish with a later dash of Mormonism and Catholicism) has been losing its legal right to suppress groups it doesn’t like. Save your time and money to do something really productive for your citizens.

  6. W says

    Will he vigorously defend the state against the Pro-Polygamy Court Ruling that passed only two days BEFORE the Gay Marriage ruling???

    Well, GA Sean Reyes, we will all await your response to THAT issue as well. We suppose you’ll spend ‘Whatever It Takes’ to get rid of the Polygamy ruling too.


    No mention of it at all, Mr. Reyes???

    The Hypocrite is deep in this one.

  7. says

    He simply does not “get it” .. the entire concept of creating a national Constitution is to Protect the rights of a minority from the majority . Civil rights under the US constitution are not something you put up to a popular vote . Equal protection under the law ..it’s pretty plain writing and easy to understand

  8. Gay Guy says

    I think an appeal (from at least one state) is needed to make the courts ruling effective in all 50 states. This is the second time that a federal court has voided a state’s ban on same-sex marriage (the first being California; upheld by the supreme court). The other rulings were based on individual state’s constitutions, so they don’t apply.

  9. Rick says

    “A minority fighthing against minorities legal rights, how sick!”

    In all seriousness, why do some of you continue with this mythological notion that racial minorities see gays as a fellow minority group…..and with the equally mythological notion that straight women feel some kind of special empathy or affinity for gay men……when neither of these propositions has ANY objective, empirical evidence in support of them.

    Almost all the empirical evidence indicates that racial minorities are MORE homophobic than whites, not less, and that straight women–at this point in history–are only marginally more in favor of gay rights than straight men are (and even that is misleading since “gay rights” includes lesbian rights, who have long been viewed as “super-feminists” by may feminist-oriented straight women). And women are increasingly the face and voice of homophobia in America and beyond.

    I guess you cling to this notion because the entire existence of the Democratic Party at this point depends on the existence of a coalition of the “aggrieved” who have nothing in common other than that they perceive the Republican Party as hostile to their individual interests. But the groups that form that coalition do not have anything in common with each other, are not particularly supportive of each other’s agendas, and don’t particularly like each other…..and they are all tenuously held together by white liberals and theif deal-making.

    I have to believe that coalition is going to fall apart at some point, particularly as the Republican Party inevitably begins to discard its homophobic mindset–that is already happening among younger people…..You already see that happening in Britian with the Conservative Party, which has seen a huge and dramatic increase in its favorability ratings among gays since it changed course on gay issues.

    In any case, it is so odd to see some of you continually expecting that the light bulb is going to come on with racial minorities when it comes to gay rights, when it should be patently obvious after years and years of banging your heads against the wall, that it is not ever going to come on…..

  10. Alan says

    “We’re willing to spend whatever it takes to protect the laws and the will of the people,” he said. “Our commitment to the people is if we don’t have [expertise] internally, we’ll find the best to represent the state.”

    …Mr. Reyes…YOU ALREADY DID THAT in trying to defend the indefensible the first go around. Are you not listening to the Judges?

    Even the reich-wing’s OWN witnesses in the Prop 8 trials even AGREED that LGBT marriages were HEALTHY and CONSTRUCTIVE to society and there was no logical reason to stop them.

    Does he really wantto go through THAT embarrassment again? Cause we never tire of watching the next Emeror With No Clothes make a fool of himself.

    Reyes’s side cannot elicit one single tangible and coherant arguement against us. They just keep…losing. Again and again and again.

    So go ahead…look for those ‘external expertise’.’ Maybe there is an expert on Mars who knows better.

    I wonder if he has got any favors owed by NASA?

  11. TYLER says

    To argue that the Constitution guarantees equal treatment to all citizens, both men and women, does not say anything about what constitutes marriage, or a family, or a business enterprise, or a university, or a friendship.

  12. says

    Actually it does. There have been 14 challenges to marriage regulation restrictions and every time SCOTUS has ruled that marriage is an inalienable fundamental right of Liberty. States regulate who can marry ONLY within the confines of those Constitutional guarantees. When a state tries to place a restriction on the fundamental right of marriage it has to show that there is a substantial societal benefit for doing so. There is no substantial benefit to society for disenfranchising LGBT families. Judge Shelby’s ruling covers every aspect of arguments and is an excellent read.

    Their half-assed attempt to portray the Windsor ruling as a validation of states rights is laughable. Kennedy’s language was expressly explicit about it. Shelby, Black & NW Supreme Court have all made that same determination. Trying to portray DOMA as a ‘states rights’ decision is like quoting a fireman ‘The fire started in the basement’ when he really said ‘The fire started in the basement when the arsonist tossed a match onto the gasoline soaked furniture.’

    FYI Utah. SCOTUS decides what cases they take & when they take them. And you might want to talk to your citizens about their views on marriage equality and ‘spending whatever it takes’. This isn’t 2004 any more.

  13. simon says

    It was not possible for the Constitution to state any specifics because there was no concept of gay marriage at that time. It was covered nevertheless. As Judge Black indicated, rationality, not tradition is the foundation.

  14. Burt says

    I think we should give the Mor(m)ons a dose of their own medicine and flood Utah with money to support the plaintiffs, just like the good LDS donated millions to support prop H8 in California…

  15. Jim says

    Sounds like a graduate of Liberty University law school to me. Or maybe Regent University law school. The guy can’t read federal cases and understand what they’re about and what is now precedent. Since when do 66% of the voters get to override the 14th amendment just because they want to? Watching this fool get crushed in appellate court will be one of the great pleasures of 2014.

  16. jamal49 says

    Go ahead. Waste Utah taxpayers’ dollars. But, get it through your sick, bigoted head, Reyes. My civil rights are NOT something that can or should be permitted to be voted away by 66% of the voters. If you honestly think that such a travesty is OK, you should not be a attorney general or a lawyer.

  17. Taylor says

    Hi Seriously. Thanks for answering my post politely. What I was taught in college is that by the states ability to define what marriage is (ie man and woman) they can control the situation. I will search Shelby’s rulings.

  18. Michael says

    Did I miss the part where he gave an indication on any legal angle he might take?

    Not once have I seen anyone who is against gay marriage come within a half of a mile in a discussion about the US Constitution.

  19. says

    You’re welcome. Happy New Year!
    Opponents of marriage equality weren’t using the ‘states rights’ argument originally. They had no qualm passing federal law DOMA in 1996. They were more than willing to forego states rights if it benefited their cause. It was only brought out again as an argument after section 3 of DOMA was struck down. Gotta laugh at the irony. The very same group now before SCOTUS claiming states rights was the group that funded DOMA. Pretty sure this is not lost on SCOTUS.

    Same arguments. States rights. Will of the people. Nothing new.

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