Marriage expected to be a hot topic during Utah’s 2014 legislative session

John Jensen, left, and his partner, Jared Resor, walk away hand-in-hand from the Ogden clerk and auditor's office after it canceled a special Saturday opening to issue marriage licenses in Ogden, Utah, Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013. A federal judge on Friday struck down Utah's ban on same-sex marriage, saying the law violates the U.S. Constitution. (AP photo/George Frey)

Not everyone agrees that Utah should fight the same-sex marriage ruling because of the money that would have to be spent. State Representative Curt Webb, R-District 5, disagrees. He said this is not just a law that the legislature passed and the state is trying to defend.

“This is an amendment to the Utah Constitution which requires a super-majority of the legislature to pass, then it has to go to the people,” Webb said, “and the people passed it. So this is more than just a law to defend.

“I think that if ever we had an obligation to defend something it would be to defend the will of the people as stated in a Constitutional amendment.”

On <a href=”http://610kvnu.com/assets/podcaster/328/2014_01_22_328_18279_2867.mp3″ target=”_blank”>KVNU’s Crosstalk program Tuesday,</a> Webb said it may be that other states would want to join Utah in a lawsuit.

State Representative Ronda Menlove, R-District 1, agrees with Webb in that she expects the legislature will be spending time addressing the same-sex marriage issue. She said legislation will probably be passed to help determine what Utah voters said when they passed Amendment 3 in 2004.

On <a href=”http://610kvnu.com/assets/podcaster/328/2014_01_23_328_18313_2867.mp3″ target=”_blank”>KVNU’s Crosstalk program Wednesday,</a> Menlove said lawmakers will be watching the court cases to see the results of the appeal. But Menlove said she and others will also be working on what can be done to strengthen marriage.

“I’m working with the Utah Marriage Commission now with an initiative to strengthen pre-marital education,” Menlove said, “and focusing on trying to reduce our divorce rate in this state by educating people before they are married.

“We have data telling us that if a couple takes pre-marital education they are less likely to divorce.”

A resident of West Fielding in Box Elder County, Menlove represents the northwest corner of Cache County which includes Newton, Clarkston and Cornish. She is a senior vice president and associate professor of special education at Utah State University.

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