Utah’s same-sex marriage case reaches U.S. Supreme Court

The fate of Utah's legally contested ban on same-sex marriage is now in the hands of the nation's highest court. Photo courtesy of the FBI.

<span>SALT LAKE CITY – The legal battle over Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage has entered the jurisdiction of the U.S. Supreme Court. </span>

<span>This week the state filed its appeal of a lower court ruling, which overturned Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage. </span>

<span>John Mejia, legal director with the ACLU of Utah, says a Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage would essentially legalize it nationwide.</span>

<span>”If the Supreme Court says that the federal Constitution equal protection means that states may not bar marriage between same-sex couples, then that will bind all 50 states and all jurisdictions in the United States because the federal constitution trumps state law,” he explains.</span>

<span>Late last year, U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby overturned Amendment 3, which had amended the Utah state constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. </span>

<span>The U.S. Supreme Court then granted a temporary injunction stopping same-sex marriages while the state of Utah continues its efforts to overturn Judge Shelby’s ruling.</span>

<span>Marina Gomberg and her wife, Elenor, are among the same-sex couples that married in Utah while it was legal, and then sued the state over its refusal to recognize the unions. </span>

<span>Gomberg says she and Elenor are holding off on their dream of starting a family because until their marriage is legally recognized, only one parent would have a legal right over the child as its mother.</span>

<span>”My wife Elenor and I have wanted to start a family for a really long time and feel really uncomfortable doing that knowing that only one of us would have a legal relationship with the child,” Gomberg says.</span>

<span>About 1,300 same-sex couples in Utah were married prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s temporary injunction that stopped the weddings. </span>

<span>The court could decide to hear the case after its next session starts this fall. </span>

<span>Or, it could reject the case, which would uphold the lower court rulings, which support overturning the same-sex marriage ban.</span>

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