Deseret News: Gay couples wed after federal judge overturns Utah’s same-sex marriage ban

(Deseret News) A federal judge Friday struck down Utah’s voter-approved constitutional amendment — which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman — finding that it violates rights to due process and equal protection as set forth in the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Within hours, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill confirmed that, in light of the ruling, he saw no reason to prohibit Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and as many as 120 gay couples descended on the Salt Lake County Clerk’s Office to obtain licenses, with many staying to marry on the spot. …

Bill Duncan, director of the Center for Family and Society at the Sutherland Institute, said he wasn’t necessarily surprised by the ruling, based on questions he said Shelby asked at an oral argument hearing on the issue. Still, that doesn’t make the ruling “any less disappointing,” he said.

“Because the baseline holding is that two-thirds of voters who approved the amendment in 2004 were acting irrationally, and that’s hard to swallow,” Duncan said. “There’s nothing in the U.S. Constitution requiring states to change the legal definition of marriage. The judge elevated his own thinking on a divisive social issue and turned it into a constitutional issue.”

He, too, said he was confused as to how an amendment requiring states to treat slaves as full citizens could be interpreted as it was by Shelby.

Click here to read the rest of this story by Emiley Morgan and Marjorie Cortez at the Deseret News website.