Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Federal judge ruling makes same-sex marriage in Utah legal

The world is changing every day. For some people, the changes are coming faster than they would like and for others they are not coming fast enough. Often change is effectuated after hard work, disappointments, and eventual victories. The changes that have occurred within the last several years will have lasting significance for the United States. And while they may not be remembered with such significance as the civil rights movement they are none the less important for those who have been striving for them all these years.

A U.S. District Court Judge has now ruled Utah's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The ruling struck down the ban on such marriages and ordered Utah to immediately stop enforcing the law. The judge ruled the ban failed to afford same-sex couples equal protection under the law and undermined their due process rights.

While Utah's Governor and others are deriding the decision, the judge noted that the state failed to support their case as to how allowing same-sex marriages would affect heterosexual marriages. One of the first couples to marry after the ban was lifted was Utah State Senator Jim Debakis. The ceremony was officiated by the major of Salt Lake City.

Utah currently has some of the strictest laws involving same-sex couples' ability to adopt and take advantage of other opportunities afforded to opposite sex couples. Many of these laws will have to be re-evaluated and changed due to the judge's latest ruling. While the ruling can be appealed it seems unlikely to be overturned as an increasing number of jurisdictions are legalizing same-sex marriage. As more Utah same-sex couples marry the state will be forced to recognize the changing society and change many of the family laws which have been created in opposition of same-sex marriage.

Source: Liberty Voice, "Holy Joseph Smith! Utah Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage" Heather Pilkinton, December 20, 2013

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