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Federal Judge Legalizes Gay Marriage in Utah

Peter Z. Scheer
Managing Editor
Peter Scheer grew up in the newspaper business, spending family vacations with his mother at newspaper editors' conferences, enjoying daycare in editorial departments and begrudgingly reviewing his father's…
Peter Z. Scheer

Utah is the 10th state to get gay marriage this year — and the second this week — but it’s an especially significant one considering that voters in the state have not followed public opinion.

While Americans nationally have come to approve of same-sex unions (The Washington Post says 58 percent now favor the idea), Utah has consistently trailed that trend.

According to the Post: “Only 28 percent supported legalizing gay marriage in a February 2012 poll conducted by the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy, while a similarly timed CBS/New York Times poll found 38 percent support nationally. The Utah poll found that 43 percent preferred civil unions, while 24 percent said the same nationally.”

Federal Judge Robert Shelby’s opinion that the state’s anti-gay marriage laws “demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason,” is also significant because Utah, and more specifically the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that calls the state home, was a strong backer of California’s gay marriage ban, which was ultimately deemed unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court.

Speaking of the high court, the matter is not settled in Utah. The state’s attorney general’s office announced that it would file for appeal and a stay “as soon as possible.” That would cut off the flow of marriage licenses, which are already being issued by Salt Lake City, and send the matter to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Until then, mazel tov and Merry Christmas, Utah.

Let’s Gaga.

— Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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