More Sexual Modernity in Utah Is Apparently Bad

Posted: January 26, 2014 in homosexuality, religion
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Less than a week after a federal judge ruled that many of the important parts of Utah’s ban on polygamy are unconstitutional, another federal judge (U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby) ruled that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage is also unconstitutional. WND’s first of many articles on the subject was its usual three-paragraph copy-paste, this time from the Salt Lake Tribune, that WND entitled “Judge Strikes Down Utah’s ‘Gay’-Marriage Ban.”

“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,” wrote U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby in the 53-page decision. “Accordingly, the court finds that these laws are unconstitutional.”

In the ruling, Shelby enjoined the state from enforcing two different statutes that ban same-sex marriage as well as Amendment 3 to the state’s constitution, approved by Utah voters in 2004.

That particular article got a measly 3 ratings (5/5 stars) and 47 comments ranting about activist judges.

What was interesting for those of us who watched it was that Utah fought – since that ruling on December 20, 2013 – and continues to fight the judge’s ruling. The short-short version is that the judge refused to stay his order. Utah appealed to the federal appeals court in Denver, which handles appeals cases for Utah, and that appeals court refused to stay the order (“staying” means that the judge puts a hold on their order until appeals plays out) (see WND’s “Utah Eyes Supreme Court in Same-Sex Marriage Fight“). Then, Utah appealed to the Supreme Court to issue a stay while they appeal to the court in Denver, and in a fairly surprising order, stayed the ruling (for which WND quoted FOX “news”). Meaning that same-sex marriages took place for practically two weeks in Utah, leaving nearly 1000 couples in legal limbo.

The aftermath of that has also been a patchwork of crazy. Utah’s attorney general and governor (Gary Herbert) issued an order that Utah would not recognize the marriages performed while they were legal (source). But the Attorney General told county clerks to continue to go through with any paperwork started before the stay (source, and WND’s take). But, US Attorney General Eric Holder issued an order that the federal government would recognize those marriages, such as for purposes of filing taxes (source). To be followed shortly there-after by a decision by Utah’s Attorney General that they would recognize the marriages for tax purposes (source). Meanwhile, the ACLU is suing to try to force Utah to recognize the marriage certificates it issued.

And, the appeal itself has been “fun.” The Attorney General’s office literally put out an ad asking for help (source). And, on January 16, they hired one who agreed to cap their fees at $300,000 (source). And where we stand as of my writing this post on January 21, Utah requested an extra 10 days to try to figure out why it was arguing that same-sex marriages should be illegal (besides them being icky — source), while the plaintiffs opposed the extension, citing the Tenth Circuit’s own rulings against such extensions. However, the 10th circuit granted the delay.

Catch all that? Obviously, WND has been generally posting these updates, as well, allowing its readers to be worked up into a spittle-flinging match about how this is against God and various other religious arguments against same-sex marriage. And it’s icky. Which to me is actually reassuring. If the only arguments you can come up with for why it should be illegal are religious, then we’ve already won. We are not a theocracy where the religion of the majority (or minority) and its teachings as the majority of that faith interpret them become the laws of the land. If you want such a theocracy, then move to Saudi Arabia or Iran.

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