Federal Judge Strikes Down Utah’s Same-Sex Marriage Ban

Sets precedent for state courts upholding Supreme Court ruling on DOMA

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A Federal Judge ruled Friday that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional because it violated the equal protection clause.

U.S. District Court Robert J. Shelby wrote, “The state’s current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason,” the Salt Lake Tribune reports. 

This ruling is the first to address whether states may refuse to recognize same-sex marriage after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act this summer.

Moudi Sbeity and Derek L. Kitchen, two of the plaintiffs in the case, plan to have a farmers-market themed wedding if the state does not appeal the court’s decision.

“While the Utah decision only directly affects same-sex couples in Utah, it will provide legal precedent to support other plaintiffs’s constitutional challenges to similar state laws in the remaining states where there is marriage inequality,” the plaintiffs’ lawyers said in a statement.

The lawyers said that the state will likely appeal the decision, but that they believe the ruling will prevail.

[Salt Lake Tribune]