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Editorial: Time to let gay marriage ban go, Utah

Those wanting to bring back a ban on same-sex marriage in Utah should carefully consider the U.S. Supreme Court’s majority opinion when it struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year. The opinion, written by the court’s traditional swing vote, Ronald Reagan appointee Justice Anthony Kennedy, had this to say about DOMA:
There are 32 states with laws still in effect banning gay marriage, but only one state has passed such a law since 2006. Since that time seven state legislatures have passed laws to allow same-sex marriage, and three more states did so through popular vote. Court decisions have struck down the laws in another seven states, including Utah. One of those states is California, where state officials stopped defending their same-sex marriage ban when it became obvious where the future lies.

Utah’s ban passed with 66 percent of voters approving it, but it’s a legitimate question whether it would pass today if another election were held. Even the LDS Church has gone from actively participating in the marriage wars to simply explaining its own beliefs and practices.

The tide has turned. It’s time for Utah to turn with it.

This strikes me as some sort of tectonic shift. I'm not closely acquainted with the complexities of Utah politics. If people who are think are reasons not to take this as a major event, I'd appreciate their sharing their views. Otherwise, this looks like yet another sign that the tide is indeed turning.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Last I saw (8+ / 0-)

    a few months ago, a solid majority of voters under 30 in Utah were in favor or marriage equality. If this were re-voted in 2014, the church would have its work cut out for it getting to 51% let alone 66%.

    •  Well, I'd like to think so, but the voters here (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gygaxian, lostboyjim, skrekk

      relentlessly republican. The Tribune is the "liberal" newspaper too. Nonetheless, it has been impossible not to feel the joyousness resulting from Shelby's decision, and I find it hard to believe the 10th circuit will do anything but uphold his decision.  The Supremes, who knows?  

      Hey, Republicans, the whole world is watching.

      by TAH from SLC on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 05:53:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was wondering where the Tribune (0+ / 0-)

        fit into the picture.

        •  Fairly liberal (0+ / 0-)

          Remember, Salt Lake City is currently represented by DEMOCRAT, and the Trib is based in SLC (well, so is everything else).  It is unsurprising that it moves easily with the times here.

          Mormons just aren't evangelicals.  The oppose SSM and abortion, but they don't march in protest or anything.   They are more likely to have a dinner with an jello mould.

          (I lived in Utah from 1991-1999)

          Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

          by lostboyjim on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 09:50:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  A very nice way to make a legal argument (13+ / 0-)

    The quote presented after your first blockquote says this:

    "This places same-sex couples in an unstable position of being in a second-tier marriage. The differentiation demeans the couple, whose moral and sexual choices the Constitution protects. ... And it humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples. The law in question makes it even more difficult for the children to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives."

    It’s simply not logical to expect the same court to now say, "But all this is OK in Utah."

    No it isn't.  And placing the quote in their editorial is a pretty direct slap in the face for the state officials trying to overturn the court decision.

    We have always been at war with al Qaeda.

    by Dallasdoc on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 04:27:06 PM PST

  •  Thanks for this, Richard (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon, sfbob, jayden

    This is good to see.

    Visit for Minnesota news as it happens.

    by Phoenix Woman on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 04:32:22 PM PST

  •  One could, I suppose (5+ / 0-)

    make the argument that the state's governor and attorney general are duty-bound to continue to defend the ban in court all the way up to and including the Supreme Court. Of course California's governor and AG did not see things this way, with the result that marriage equality prevails here in my adopted home state, even if only due to a technicality (we'll take that).

    It is unfortunate that the state handled the case so ineptly to this point; some of the controversies that have emerged along the way, including even the failure to ask in advance that any ruling be stayed pending appeal, might have made things a bit less complicated than they are proving to be now. It's unfortunate as well that the state has obligated itself to spending taxpayers' money in defense of what any rational observer must conclude is clearly an indefensible law when that money could certainly be used to better the lives of citizens in various ways.

    At the same time, fighting this case all the way up to the Supreme Court, even if the Court refuses to grant certiorari, will at a minimum result in marriage equality coming to Utah and perhaps as well to other Tenth Circuit states with similar constitutional bans. The case could even result in a Supreme Court ruling striking down all state bans on marriage equality without exception whether based on statute or on state constitutional amendment. That would certainly end the ugly legacy of having state constitutions include within them actual deprivations of rights that every individual should possess. Why anyone would have that sort of thing in their state's constitution is beyond me.

    It's really tough to make that kind of call.

    Regardless of all that I'm certainly in agreement with the spirit of the editorial.

    •  I certainly would expect that if (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jayden, peacestpete, sfbob, blueoasis

      a similar ruling had been delivered in most other red states the governmental leadership would be likely to act along the same lines. Mississippi and Alabama kept their anti-misigination laws on the books until after 2000. That is of course why we are dependent on a SCOTUS decision in order to achieve fully national equality.  

    •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

      The inept attention during the trial (it has been noted that their defense was more or less cut-n-paste from other trials) made this a clean slam dunk.  They 1000+ marriages make this a headache for a government that wants to unwrap those legal marriages.  

      Those series of blunders are important, and good, for our side.

      Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

      by lostboyjim on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 09:52:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree that the effects are good for our side (0+ / 0-)

        At the same time I'm not sure I'd want to be a member of one of those couples, attempting to determine the legality of my own marriage and attempting to figure out how to file my federal and state income taxes.

        The other side's arguments are completely and utterly bankrupt. It might be simpler not to have the side issue of people caught in the middle to have to deal with. Their situation can and probably will be used by the other side to muddy the waters even if the fact of those marriages makes it more and more difficult to ignore or deny the injustice of not having marriage equality.

  •  The Salt Lake Tribune is basically Dem party-line (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JGibson, ebohlman, lostboyjim

    With an emphasis on Utah. They do support some Republicans, but that's usually when the Dem candidates are a joke. Unfortunately, far too many Dem candidates in Utah are a joke.

    If you want to know the conservative news stronghold in Utah, it's the Deseret News and it's TV affilate, KSL. Oddly enough, the local Fox affilate (Fox 13) is as liberal as the Tribune; perhaps even moreso.

    Leftist Mormon in Utah, Born in Washington State, live in UT-04 (Matheson).

    by Gygaxian on Mon Jan 06, 2014 at 07:00:09 PM PST

    •  SLT is kinda the Undeseret Nuz (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Dunno about the "Dem-party-line" characterization, but--

      From this outsider's perspective Utah is a pretty schizy place: LDS up the Wazoo, particularly outside of SLC, but with a sizable contingent of LSDS (Later-the-Same-Day-Sinners) skulking around the Beehive State like the cats in the Colosseum, who when the opportunity arises dearly love to (gently, ever so gently) proffer their genial hosts[1] a sociocultural wedgie[2]. My impression is that it is the wedgiers & not the wedgied who are SLT's intended audience.

      [1] A former coworker who'd moved to SLC to set up a professional practice once told me that in his experience, anyone not LDS living in SLC, no matter how long they'd been there, was essentially a guest--a very well-treated guest, but a guest nonetheless. Related FWIW.

      [2] My personal snickering favorite being the Utah Brewers Cooperative's Polygamy Porter, whose bottles feature the motto Why have just one?

      The greatest trick the GOP ever played was convincing the devil they had a soul to sell.

      by Uncle Cosmo on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 04:48:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What I mean by "party-line" (0+ / 0-)

        Is that they generally tend to give paper space to individuals who are progressive, but not too progressive, that tend to be just fine with moderate Democrats, that ignore a lot of slighter-further-to-the-left issues, and so forth. Plus they apparently had a lot of the info on John Swallow before he was sworn in, but hesitated to publish it.

        City Weekly, the alt-magizine, is more of a far-left (in comparison) publication. Both publications like to tweak Mormons noses, though the Tribune is less hard-edged about it.

        Leftist Mormon in Utah, Born in Washington State, live in UT-04 (Matheson).

        by Gygaxian on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 09:08:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Local Fox affiliates (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      are separate from the Fox News Channel and aren't under the control of Roger Ailes.

      The Deseret News and KSL are both actually owned by the LDS church.

      Unfortunately when smart and educated people get crazy ideas they can come up with plausibly truthy arguments. -- Andrew F Cockburn

      by ebohlman on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 07:04:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Indeed (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Though I believe they're under the control of somewhat conservative editors (picked by the LDS Church) regardless. That makes them very, very conservative in any case. I would characterize the Deseret News as slightly more conservative than KSL, possibly because the TV crowd tends to be slightly younger then the newspaper crowd.

        Leftist Mormon in Utah, Born in Washington State, live in UT-04 (Matheson).

        by Gygaxian on Tue Jan 07, 2014 at 09:14:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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