Some very big news today out of Denver, as the state of Utah is dealt another huge blow to its ban on same-sex marriage in an unusually broad ruling. Here’s the scoop from LGBTQnation…
A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that states must allow gay couples to marry, finding the Constitution protects same-sex relationships and putting a remarkable legal winning streak across the country one step closer to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The three-judge panel in Denver ruled 2-1 that states cannot deprive people of the fundamental right to marry simply because they want to be wedded to someone of the same sex.
The judges added they don’t want to brand as intolerant those who oppose gay marriage, but they said there is no reasonable objection to the practice.
“It is wholly illogical to believe that state recognition of love and commitment of same-sex couples will alter the most intimate and personal decisions of opposite-sex couples,” the judges wrote, addressing arguments that the ruling could undermine traditional marriage.
The decision by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel upheld a lower court ruling that struck down Utah’s gay marriage ban. It becomes law in the six states covered by the 10th Circuit: Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming. But the panel immediately put the ruling on hold pending an appeal.
The Utah attorney general’s office will appeal the decision but is still assessing whether it will go directly to the U.S. Supreme Court or ask the entire 10th Circuit to review the ruling, spokeswoman Missy Larsen said.
So why is this ruling by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals the strongest yet to favor nation-wide marriage equality? Well for one thing, it affects the court’s entire jurisdiction. If that temporary hold were to be lifted, same-sex marriages could immediately commence in each state. The other big thing the 10th Circuit did in their ruling? They drew battle lines between religious recognition of marriages, and the obligation of states to treat their citizens equally. Even in the 2013 Supreme Court ruling striking down California’s ban, the Justices still tried desperately to skirt around this particular issue.
The 10th Circuit Court also threw down “the gauntlet”, finally posing marriage and family as a right guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. If as expected, this ruling is then appealed up to the Supreme Court, they will be forced to make a final decision on which is more important… the rights of the state, or the rights of the individual?
With similar cases heading to other Circuit courts, it will be very interesting to see how long the Supreme Court can hold off on the issue. Make no mistake, marriage equality is winning, and fast. This ruling, more than any one’s we’ve seen yet since 2013, is sure to have major national implications.