Utah

STATUS:

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

WHAT'S HAPPENING: 

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. Three weeks later, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay in the ruling as the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals considers the case.

In the three weeks where same-sex couples in Utah had the freedom to marry, 1,308 marriage licenses were issued. Oral arguments were heard on March 12 in a case seeking recognition in Utah for the couples who received marriage licenses in the state.

A hearing before a 3-judge panel at the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to win the freedom to marry is scheduled for 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:

  • 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 American Civil Liberties Union is one of the nation's leading legal organizations, currently working to win respect for the marriage licenses issued in Utah in December and January through its lawsuit Evans v. Utah.
  • 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.

Blog Posts Related to Utah

Q&A: What’s Happening with Marriage in the Courts?

Freedom to Marry founder and president Evan Wolfson describes the dynamic litigation landscape and explains how all Americans can do their part in creating the climate for these courts - including the U.S. Supreme Court - to rule in favor of marriage nationwide as soon as possible.

WATCH: 12-year-old with two moms in Utah speaks out for the freedom to marry

"At school, we talked about things we'd like to see in our lifetime," 12-year-old Riley Hackford-Peer told filmmaker D'Arcy Benincosa in a new video. He explained, "I've always said that I'd like to see my parents get married."

Litigation Round-Up: Where marriage cases stand in the federal appellate courts

After today's great victory in Ohio, it's a good time to check in on the state of marriage litigation across the country. In nine states, marriage litigation is currently pending at the federal appellate level in five different Circuit Courts.

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Resources Related to Utah

The Pathway Forward

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.

Utah Census Snapshot

Demographic and economic information about same-sex couples and same-sex couples raising children in Utah.

Geographic Trends Among Same-Sex Couples in the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey

Groundbreaking research showing a huge increase in same-sex couples identifying themselves as "unmarried partners".

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