Attorney’s for the state of Utah appealed to the same U.S. District Judge Robert J Shelby, who just a day earlier ruled that same-sex couples be allowed to marry, to suspend his ruling pending an appeal. Not surprisingly, Judge Shelby denied that request, upholding his ruling. Following the decision, hundreds of couples have been getting married in counties across the sate where marriage licenses are being issued.
Utah became the 18th state to allow same-sex marriages following New Mexico which became the 17th state just days earlier. The Church of Latter Day Saints, (the Mormon Church) said it would appeal the ruling to a higher court, hoping to have Judge Shelby’s decision overturned. In his decision, the Judge said that the ban “violated same-sex couples’ rights to equal protection.” He also said, Utah had failed to show that allowing gay marriages would affect opposite-sex unions. “In the absence of such evidence, the state’s unsupported fears and speculations are insufficient to justify the state’s refusal to dignify the family relationships of its gay and lesbian citizens.” The case was brought to the court by three couples. One of the couples had been legally married in Iowa.
In a statement, Republican Governor Gary Herbert said the judge’s ruling had resulted in “a lot of chaos”. “This uncertainty is creating a lot of problems for us with the conflicting laws in the state of Utah, what the clerks should be doing, what the tax laws are going to be.” Of course that’s a weak argument and only masks the true sentiment of the majority of citizens in Utah; that same-sex marriage is an abomination and violates the teachings of their religion. In 2004 voters in Utah overwhelming voted to ban same-sex marriage with 66% voting in favor of a ban. However, what many Republican Governors and other religious politicians fail to recognize, is that the will of the people can not always be the deciding factor even in a Democratic society. That’s why we have the courts; to rule on legal issues. For example, integration of schools in Alabama was not a popular decision in the south but clearly the cause was just. The Civil War was fought despite the will and majority of people in the south who saw no problem with owning human beings.
Eighteen of fifty states have now legalized same-sex marriage. It won’t be long before the rest of the states either follow suit or are forced to, based on legal challenges. This is a fight not worth having as there are real issues in this country that need to be addressed. If two people love each other and want to commit to each other, how can that be bad for society as a whole? How do same-sex couples being allowed to marry in any way take away from the meaning and importance of my heterosexual marriage? And for those who bring up the ridiculous argument that soon a man will want to marry his horse, all I can say is I want to be there when some schmuck decides to marry his horse. There’s a lot of material there for some very funny jokes. How sad and pitiful that some unintelligent, small-minded, person might use that argument to deny people the right to marry. When same-sex marriage becomes the law of the land, the only thing that will change, is that this country will take one further giant step in establishing itself as the greatest experiment in freedom and Democracy the world has ever known.