Utah defends same-sex marriage ban

Ruth Hackford-Peer, right, and Kim Hackford-Peer, standing next to her, are married by Rev. Curtis Price, left, while hugging their two children Riley Hackford-Peer, back middle, and Casey Hackford-Peer, bottom middle, in the lobby of the Salt Lake County Clerk's Office in Salt Lake City on Friday, Dec. 20, 2013. A federal judge ruled on Friday that Utah's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. (AP Photo/Kim Raff)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah state attorneys tell a federal appeals court that the state’s same-sex marriage ban should be upheld because such matters are best left to states to resolve.

The state’s brief filed late Friday is the last scheduled filing before the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals holds a hearing on the case April 10.

The state’s brief comes in response to arguments made last month by attorneys for three same-sex couples who said the ban has “cemented discrimination” in the state against gays and their children.

The appeals court must decide if it agrees with a federal judge in Utah who in mid-December overturned the ban, saying it violates gay and lesbian couples’ rights to due process and equal protection under the 14th Amendment.

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