Utah

STATUS:

Anti-relationship recognition constitutional amendment; a federal judge has ruled that the amendment is unconstitutional, and that decision has been upheld by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, with the ruling stayed. 

WHAT'S HAPPENING: 

On June 25, 2014, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals voted in favor of the freedom to marry in Utah, upholding a lower court ruling that declared it unconstitutional for Utah to deny the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. The state of Utah has indicated it will eventually appeal to the United States Supreme Court, but that it may first ask for an en banc hearing before the entire 10th Circuit Appeals Court. The decision is in Kitchen v. Herbert, brought by by the firm of Magleby & Greenwood, P.C., on behalf of same-sex couples, and co-counseled on appeal with the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

On December 20, 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby struck down Utah's ban on same-sex couples from marrying, declaring in Kitchen v. Herbert that the law violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection and due process. 

In the three weeks where same-sex couples in Utah had the freedom to marry before the US Supreme Court issued a stay in the ruling, 1,308 marriage licenses were issued. On May 19, a federal judge ruled in Evans v. Utah that the state of Utah must respect those marriage licenses. 

A hearing before a 3-judge panel at the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals was held on April 10. As the case makes its way up through the courts, Utahans across the state will continue to do the work of having conversations about why marriage matters and creating a climate for victory.

Follow the Marriage Litigation in Utah.

HISTORY:

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 ACTIVELY WORKING 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, currently working as co-counsel in Kitchen v. Herbert, the lawsuit seeking the 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.
  • Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide.

POLLING DATA:

Support for the freedom to marry is higher than ever in the weeks following the December 20 federal court ruling that struck down anti-marriage laws in the state. The poll shows the state population is evenly split, with 48% in support of the freedom to marry and 48% saying they are not in favor of marriage for same-sex couples. When the question was expanded to include whether same-sex couples should be permitted to join together in civil union or domestic partnership, an overwhelming 72% said yes. Notably in the poll, support for marriage has intense support among Democrats (81%), non-Mormons (76%) and majority support among residents 18-49 (50%) and Independents (50%) (SurveyUSA and The Salt Lake Tribune, January 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.

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