Judges in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled this morning that Utah’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. This ruling backs up the initial ruling made last December 20 by US District Judge Robert J. Shelby. A panel of three judges ruled 2-1 that people of the same sex cannot be denied the right to marry.
This is the first federal appellate court ruling in the case for gay marriage. The court immediately stayed the decision until it can be heard by the US Supreme Court.
The decision in Kitchen v. Herbert reads, “We hold that the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right to marry, establish a family, raise children, and enjoy the full protection of a state’s marital laws.”
The decision also says, “A state many not deny the issuance of a marriage license to two persons, or refuse to recognize their marriage, based solely upon the sex of the persons in the marriage union.”
The judges also said that there is no reasonable objection to the practice of gay marriage. “It is wholly illogical to believe that state recognition of love and commitment of same-sex couples will alter the most intimate and person decisions of opposite-sex couples.”
This ruling opens the door for the case and others like it to be heard by the US Supreme Court. Last year the Court struck down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act, leading to rulings by sixteen federal judges so far that favor the right of gays to marry.
The State of Utah has maintained the people of the state have the right to determine whether or not gays should be allowed to wed legally. Currently, same sex marriage is legal in nineteen states and the District of Columbia.
Source: Los Angeles Times, ABC News, Associated Press, Denver Post