On October 6, 2014, the United States Supreme Court denied review of a federal legal case in which a federal judge and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit ruled that denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry in Utah is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court’s decision to deny review meant that same-sex couples in Utah could get married effective immediately, and Utah began issuing marriage licenses that day.
The case that brought an end to Utah’s anti-marriage constitutional amendment was Kitchen v. Herbert. On December 20, 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby ruled in the case, striking down Utah’s marriage ban. In the three weeks that followed, nearly 1,300 same-sex couples married in the state, and then a stay was issued by the U.S. Supreme Court, putting the ruling on hold.
Six months later, on June 25, 2014, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the freedom to marry in Utah, upholding Judge Shelby’s ruling. All parties involved in the case urged the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case and decide the question of whether same-sex couples had the freedom to marry nationwide. The October order denying review meant that the lower court ruling stands, and Utah is officially a freedom-to-marry state.
In 2004, anti-gay forces in Utah pushed through Utah Constitutional Amendment 3, a constitutional amendment that excludes same-sex couples from marriage and prohibits same-sex couples from any other form of legal family status.
GROUPS THAT WORKED ON MARRIAGE:
- Utah Unites for Marriage is the grassroots public education campaign to build support for the freedom to marry in Utah.
- Equality Utah is Utah's central statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights and advocacy organization.
- The National Center for Lesbian Rights is one of the nation's leading LGBT legal organizations. NCLR served as co-counsel in Kitchen v. Herbert, the case that won freedom to marry in the state of Utah.
- The ACLU of Utah is the state affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, committed to standing up for equality for all Utahns.
- Restore Our Humanity is an organization that works to strengthen Utah communities and defend human rights. The group originally filed Kitchen v. Herbert in Utah in 2013.
- Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide.
A plurality of Utahns agree that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry in Utah: 49% agree that same-sex couples should be allowed to get a state-issued marriage license, and 48% disagree. Additionaly 94% of Utahns believe the freedom to marry will not impact their marriage, with 84% saying it won't impact their family and 65% saying it wont adversely impact the state. (Benenson Strategy Group, September 2014)
NUMBER OF SAME-SEX COUPLES:
According to The Williams Institute's analysis of the 2010 U.S. Census, 3,909 same-sex couples are living in Utah, representing 4.5 same-sex couples per 1,000 households.
Blog Posts Related to Utah
Today, September 29, a new statewide poll conducted by Benenson Strategy Group for Freedom to Marry found that a plurality of Utahns – 49% in favor versus 48% opposed – agree that same sex-couples should be able to share in the freedom to marry and receive a civil marriage license in Utah.
Today, September 10, 7 different petitions seeking certiorari in marriage cases from 5 states were distributed for the September 29 conference at the United States Supreme Court.
The briefs lay out the urgency of bringing an end to the tangible harms and national disparities in how same-sex couples and their families are treated and encourage the Supreme Court to bring the country to national resolution without delay.
Resources Related to Utah
Momentum for the freedom to marry continues to build. And it’s clear from the past few weeks the path ahead is dynamic and full of flashpoints, including in some of the more conservative parts of the country. This memo looks at what the recent Ohio, Oklahoma, and Utah court victories—and others potentially soon to come—mean in the context of our overall strategy to win the freedom to marry nationwide.
Demographic and economic information about same-sex couples and same-sex couples raising children in Utah.
Groundbreaking research showing a huge increase in same-sex couples identifying themselves as "unmarried partners".