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Courts challenge same-sex marriage equality bans in Indiana, Utah

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State statutes and constitutional amendments banning marriage equality for same-sex couples have been having an increasingly difficult time in the courts recently, with decisions today in Indiana and Utah as the latest examples.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard L. Young ruled against Indiana’s statute today in Baskin v. Bogan, writing, “In time, Americans will look at the marriage of couples such as Plaintiffs, and refer to it simply as a marriage – not a same-sex marriage. These couples, when gender and sexual orientation are taken away, are in all respects like the family down the street. The Constitution demands that we treat them as such.”

An amendment to Utah's state constitution banning same-sex marriage was also struck down today, in a 2-1 decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

The Human Rights Campaign has responded to both rulings.

Here's HRC president Chad Griffin's comment RE: the U.S. Court of Appeals decision in Utah, via HRC.org:

“Today’s decision affirms what we all know to be true – the U.S. Constitution guarantees the basic civil rights of all Americans, not just some,” said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) president Chad Griffin. “Utah’s ban on marriage equality does nothing to strengthen or protect any marriage. Instead, it singles out thousands of loving Utah families for unfair treatment simply because of who they are. Our Constitution does not allow for such blatant discrimination. We are incredibly grateful to the plaintiffs, their attorneys with Magleby & Greenwood, P.C and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, as well as Utah Unites for Marriage, for their tireless work making today’s historic victory possible.”

The Tenth Circuit’s ruling today represents the broadest appellate court ruling in favor of a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry. The court applied strict scrutiny in striking down Utah’s marriage ban, providing the highest level of protection to same-sex couples.

And here's HRC legal director Sarah Warbelow's comment RE: the U.S. District Court ruling in Indiana, also via HRC.org:

"Today’s ruling is further proof that bans on marriage equality like the one struck down in Indiana today cannot withstand judicial review,” said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) legal director Sarah Warbelow. “Where you live should never determine whether or not you can marry the person you love, and today we congratulate the plaintiffs and their attorneys with Lambda Legal, the law office of Barbara Baird, and Kirkland & Ellis LLP for bringing America one step closer to nationwide marriage equality.”

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