State leaders, others respond to court striking down Amendment 3

SALT LAKE CITY – Responses have come from many entities in response to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirming a lower court’s ruling Wednesday morning that Utah’s same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional. Marriage equality supporters praise the court’s ruling, while some detractors see it as an example of the federal government stepping over a state’s right to define what it chooses to recognize as marriage.

The appeals court’s ruling upholds District Judge Robert Shelby’s original Dec. 20, 2013, ruling that outlaws Amendment 3, Utah’s voter-approved same-sex marriage ban. As the case is likely to go to the U.S. Supreme Court on appeal, the court issued a stay on its ruling pending the higher court’s ultimate decision.

Same-sex marriage was legal in Utah for 17 days, during which time more than 1,200 same-sex couples were wed. Issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples was halted when the Supreme Court issued a stay on the Shelby’s ruling on Jan. 6, 2014, pending the outcome of Utah’s appeal to the Tenth District Court of Appeals.

What follows are responses to the appeals court’s ruling from government leaders, advocacy groups and others.

Utah Gov. Gary Hebert

I am disappointed with the decision from the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in regards to same-sex marriage. I believe states have the right to determine their laws regarding marriage. I am grateful the Court issued a stay to allow time to analyze the decision and our options. But as I have always said, all Utahns deserve clarity and finality regarding same-sex marriage and that will only come from the Supreme Court.

Sen. Orrin Hatch

Although I oppose discrimination based on sexual orientation, I have always believed that marriage is a sacred union between one man and one woman. In my view, the U.S. Constitution does not dictate a particular definition of marriage, so I believe such judgments are properly left to the citizens of each State.  Although I am not surprised by today’s decision, I disagree with the court’s reasoning and hope the Supreme Court ultimately adheres to the original understanding of the Constitution and allows each State to define marriage for itself.

Utah Attorney General’s Office

The decision released this morning by the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Kitchen v. Herbert is currently being reviewed by the Utah Attorney General’s Office. Although the Court’s 2-1 split decision does not favor the State, we are pleased that the ruling has been issued and takes us one step closer to reaching certainty and finality for all Utahns on such an important issue with a decision from the highest court. For that to happen, the Utah Attorney General’s Office intends to file a Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court. The Tenth Circuit Court’s issuance of a stay will avoid further uncertainty until the case is finally resolved. Whether the Utah Attorney General’s Office seeks en banc review of the Tenth Circuit’s ruling has yet to be determined.

 American Civil Liberties Union

“This is a proud day for everybody in the state of Utah, and everybody across the country, who supports marriage equality. Though there is still much to do, the journey to ensuring the freedom to marry for all just got a huge boost with today’s decision,” said John Mejia, ACLU of Utah.

From Joshua Block, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project:“This is a significant step in the astounding progress that has been made in just a few years toward achieving dignity for all families. Today’s decision will hopefully be the first of several around the country that will eventually lead to all loving couples being able to commit to each other and take care of each other with the protections that only come with marriage.”

Utah Pride Center

For a decade and a half, Utah lawmakers have enacted legislation that obstructs the rights and protections of LGBTQ individuals, couples, and families. The Tenth Circuit’s opinion today affirms Judge Shelby’s decision, and joins the unanimous chorus of federal judges who recognize that the United States Constitution requires that the fundamental right to marry be extended to gay and lesbian couples. We encourage Governor Herbert and Attorney General Sean Reyes to stop spending tax dollars to defend Utah’s unconstitutional ban on marriage equality and accept the lawful decisions of our federal courts. Even our Senior United States Senator, Orrin Hatch, accepts the rulings of the federal judiciary recognizing marriage equality. Utah’s gay and lesbian couples are ready to move forward with their lives and continue to help make Utah the best place to raise a family.

The Sutherland Institute

It’s disappointing to have a few federal judges decide that they can unilaterally override the decision of Utah voters to preserve marriage as society’s way of preserving children’s opportunity to be reared by a mother and father.

We’ve long known that this issue will have to be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court. We’re grateful that Utah will have the opportunity to make its case to the top court that Utah voters deserve self-determination to decide a matter crucial to the state and its citizens.

Any appeal at the U.S. Supreme Court is the main event and may decide the future of marriage for decades. Defenders of marriage must be prepared and Sutherland Institute has laid the groundwork ensuring that top legal minds have compiled every constructive and effective argument to give our side the best chance of winning.

Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign

Today’s decision affirms what we all know to be true – the U.S. Constitution guarantees the basic civil rights of all Americans, not just some. Utah’s ban on marriage equality does nothing to strengthen or protect any marriage.  Instead, it singles out thousands of loving Utah families for unfair treatment simply because of who they are.  Our Constitution does not allow for such blatant discrimination.  We are incredibly grateful to the plaintiffs, their attorneys with Magleby & Greenwood, P.C and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, as well as Utah Unites for Marriage, for their tireless work making today’s historic victory possible

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Church has been consistent in its support of marriage between a man and a woman and teaches that all people should be treated with respect.  In anticipation that the case will be brought before the U.S. Supreme Court,  it is our hope that the nation’s highest court will uphold traditional marriage.

Related posts

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!


  • St. George Resident June 25, 2014 at 8:09 pm

    From the actual ruling, which can be found on the Court’s website:

    “Plaintiffs in this case have convinced us that Amendment 3 violates their fundamental right to marry and to have their marriages recognized. We may not deny them relief based on a mere preference that their arguments be settled elsewhere. Nor may we defer to majority will in dealing with matters so central to personal autonomy. The protection and exercise of fundamental rights are not matters for opinion polls or the ballot box. One’s right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.”

    Also, “We emphatically agree with the numerous cases decided since Windsor that it is wholly illogical to believe that state recognition of the love and commitment between same-sex couples will alter the most intimate and personal decisions of opposite-sex couples. As the district court held, “there is no reason to believe that Amendment 3 has any effect on the choices of couples to have or raise children, whether they are opposite sex couples or same-sex couples.”

  • Red Rocker June 25, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Marriage is a lifestyle choice, not a religious mandate. Good for the courts. This won’t prevent men and women from getting married. I don’t understand all the fuss. Liberty and Justice for all!

  • McMurphy June 25, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Gov Herbert
    Sen Hatch
    Sutherland Institute

    So — state laws and even state constitutions are not subject to scrutiny for compliance with the 14th Amendment ?

    • Big Guy June 26, 2014 at 8:13 am

      The 14th Amendment requires all government units to provide all citizens “equal protection of the laws.” Liberal judges have applied this vague and sweeping declaration to any civil or social situation that didn’t match their personal views, in effect legislating from the bench. Same sex marriage is the latest. But how about equal protection for 15 year old citizens who aren’t allowed to drive? Or equal protection for 20 year olds who aren’t allowed to buy alcoholic beverages? Or convicted felons who aren’t allowed to vote? Or men and women forced to use segregated (male/female) restrooms? Or…. The list goes on and on. None of these people are given “equal protection” but are restricted by law in some way based solely on some arbitrarily defined legal construct. The “equal protection” clause has been misused to give judges a license to legislate from the bench. Time to stop.

    • corruptedbasturds June 26, 2014 at 10:39 am

      My sign in name says what I think of those so-called Utah state leaders (more like control freaks) voicing opinion favoring Amendment 3. Hatch just shows how worthless he actually has been for all the time he’s been a senator.

  • Really? June 25, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    Intresting how some appose goverment overreach until its convenient for them. As long as the goverment is overreaching into a problem you are aginst then it is somehow ok. Just because I dont live that lifestyle how does that give me the right to deny somebody else their right to be happy. You are still going to see same sex couples at the mall holding hands. Get over your fears of them having a negitive influence on your kids and family. How much more money is the State going to throw away fighting this? It is a fight about principal at this point and elected officials will keep spending your money. It makes everybody feel warm and fuzzy that the state is fighting this. The same people to preach goverment waste are supporting this lost cause battle.

  • Jen Lindley June 26, 2014 at 2:24 am

    I will repost the same comment I shared earlier on another post about this. I’m glad this happened. Yesterday was a joyous day for America. 🙂

  • Burton June 26, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    So all you folks who are jumping up and down in great joy that some liberal judges
    trampled all over democracy, oh come on you remember. The citizens(people who reside here) in Utah voted same-sex marriage down at the voting booths. That’s how it works folks! It made it through legislature to get put on a ballot and the majority of “citizens” said they don’t want same-sex marriage in Utah. But a couple of progressive judges who don’t even live here decided all of us Utah folks were to stupid to know what is good for us. Governor Herbert is exactly right it should be a state issue. And I like how the so called judge reworded it, but conveniently made sure it stated “between two people” as to not want to address polygamy. I am certain all you same-sex marriage supporters want the same civil rights and constitutional protections for polygamists too, right? I mean they just want to be happy in the lifestyle they chose as well? Friggin’ hypocrites. I expect all of you who support same-sex marriage to stand tall and lead the way to make sure all forms of marriage get the same rights and protections that you are demanding!

    • Mike June 26, 2014 at 7:11 pm

      So to use your logic, if you are in line at Subway and decide you would like to order a cold cut combo but the 5 people behind you instead think you should have a BMT, by your rationale you will have to have a BMT. This is a democratic country and those people voted that what you want is irrelevant. It’s a sandwich right, has similar ingredients, looks about the same, but interestingly, you don’t want a BMT you want to have a cold cut combo.
      What the justice wrote is completely on-point, it is not fair or just for a majority to make a decision for a minority. How is this different from white people deciding that black people should not be able to vote; a majority deciding for the minority.
      I guess this is all well and good for you as long as you find yourself in the majority.
      I have no issue with polygamy as long as all parties are consenting adults, this has not been the case in the past.

      • Burton June 26, 2014 at 8:07 pm

        So I would assume you don’t vote since its apparent you don’t believe in a democracy style government. And to address your inquiry on my “rationale”. If we are comparing civil rights issues to a sandwich I would say that I am not a sandwich guy. Maybe I would prefer a line of cocaine or some meth or heroin. But a group of elected dignitaries made that illegal. But that is not fair that a majority of people and lawmakers want it against the law when only a minority of people choose to do it.

    • Jen Lindley June 27, 2014 at 1:52 am

      I am totally for polygamy. Polygamy, by the way is one adult man marrying two or more adult women. I support that. What is going on down in Hildale, Colorado City and other parts of Utah is NOT polygamy, it’s child abuse and pedophilia run rampant . I DO NOT and NEVER WILL support that. Since you brought it up though, why isn’t the state doing anything about the rampant child abuse a pedophilia. Where is the recent church media releases about that? Where are the Sutherland Institute type organizations fighting that? Why isn’t the state allocating millions of dollars to stop that? My point is Burton, before you start throwing the word Hypocrite around in a derogatory manner, you had better make darn sure the people you support aren’t Hypocrites either. Just sayin’.

      • Brian June 27, 2014 at 7:42 am

        Without throwing Constitutional protections out the window, how would YOU stop what is going on in Colorado City? The vast majority of women there that were married under-aged are now adults. Do you illegally search every home, based on your suspicions? Do you do forced DNA testing? What means would YOU use, that doesn’t violate Constitutionally granted rights? Without sending in jack-booted thugs and shredding the Constitution, their tools are quite limited in such a closed community. Much IS being done, within those limits, including disbanding the local “law enforcement”. What else would you do? Be specific, please.

        • Jen Lindley June 27, 2014 at 8:06 pm

          Easy I would appeal for information from those who left the community. I would gather as much evidence as I could from their witness statements,crime reports and physical evidence as I could and have it tested. If possible and if the participant is willing, I would send one or two of them back into the community as informants. Using the information gathered from that combined with the physical evidence and proven witness statements and testimonies I would appeal for various warrants on whatever individuals I could within the community and serve them. Using the evidence gathered from those searches, I would charge the suspected individuals with whatever crime I could and offer plea deals to those criminals who turned states evidence. Basically I would do what they dud with the New York mafia in the 70s and 80s. Going about it this way would be time consuming and expensive but it would be legal and effective in dealing with those sick psychopaths.

    • Dana June 27, 2014 at 6:50 am

      Burton, you’re going to give yourself a stroke screaming about something that will have no impact on your life. At this point in the SSM, argument, Gov. Herbie is fighting a losing battle, pandering to the right and behaving like a spoiled child. This state does not have an unlimited amount of money to fight this issue, yet Gov. Herbie continues to advise the AG to take it to the Supreme Court. BTW, this is the same AG’s office which he claims not to have any type of influence over during the ongoing Swallow/Shurtleff debacle.
      And, if he wants to use the argument that children are better off in a home with an opposite sex couple being the best way to raise a child, perhaps he should look no further than his own home.

    • Chris June 27, 2014 at 4:07 pm

      ” to stupid to know what is good for us” Well, you are certainly TOO stupid to know the difference between “to” and “too.”

      • Burton June 28, 2014 at 2:36 pm

        Oh no! I made a darn typo. Aren’t you a grammar genius? or is it “oh know” Heck I don’t know, maybe a brilliant-donkey like yourself could correct my spelling?

  • Burton June 27, 2014 at 9:46 am

    So are you suggesting that all polygamists are pedophiles or child rapists? Ok guys, there are a whole lot more people in this country who live polygamist lifestyles other than Hildale and Colorado city. They are all over the country. And I am pretty sure they are not all doing whats going on in those cities. There are and will always be people who choose to do bad things in every category we are discussing. Whether they be heterosexual, homosexual, or even practice polygamy. There still will be child predators in all categories which is unacceptable in any circumstance. My point is the LGTB community and supporters of same-sex marriage get so offended by heterosexuals stereotyping and criticizing there lifestyle choices, but you supporters have NO problem with stereotyping and casting stones at other peoples way of life. Such as polygamy. Do you need proof? Read your own comments. This is where the hypocrisy kicks in.

    • Jen Lindley June 27, 2014 at 8:28 pm

      Burton, LGBT people support marriage between consenting, competent and informed ADULTS. As I said in my previous response there is a huge difference between polygamy and what is going on down in Hildale and Colorado City. now I can’t speak for other democrats but personally I don’t care one bit if two or more people want to marry each other. As long as they are consenting adults capable of comprehending what they are doing then why should I care? Who am I to tell another adult what to do? I do not support whet is going foehn in Hilda,e and Colorado City because many of the “marriages” down there consist of one adult man marrying one or more children. Children. Children are not capable of consenting because they do not posses the maturity, experience or wisdom to make an informed and competent decision about who they should marry.

      • LetVotersDecide June 28, 2014 at 5:15 pm

        Jen, I guess since you support consenting adults doing what they want, you would support legalizing prostitution in Utah. “Why should I care?” Isn’t that what you said?

        • Jen Lindley June 28, 2014 at 10:33 pm

          Actually yes I would support legalization of prostitution in a Utah. Legalize it in brothels like Nevada does and tax the heck out of it. Legalizing it in brothels like Nevada would create jobs and the tax paid by the brothels would help the state in everything from education to road maintenance.

          I actually grew up in Nevada and a friend of mine was a prostitute who worked in one of the two brothels in my town. Nevada places stiff regulations on brothels the openers and the girls themselves. Brothel employees cannot have criminal convictions, cannot be on drugs( they are screened regularly and at random intervals in between scheduled screenings) must use oral and physical contraceptives, and they must take and pass regular sti checks among other things. If the state of Utah would copy Nevada and legalize but regulate and tax it, then this state would be much better off financially then it is now.

          Just to give you a idea. My friend who lived at the brothel charged $500 an hour. Of that, half went to the brothel up to a certain set amount per month I think it was $1000. That $1000 paid for everything from medical bills and tests to rent for the room she had and the food she ate. All of the rest she could keep and spend or save as she pleased. Most of the 5 girls who worked with paid their “rent” within a few days at the start of every month.

  • Burton June 29, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    So then you would encourage your own daughter or sister to be employed at one of these “brothels” then, right? I mean for the sake of taxes for the good of the community of course.

    • Jen Lindley June 29, 2014 at 9:37 pm

      Encourage? No but if when my daughter is 18, she wants to go to work at one of these places I’ll give her my blessing. 🙂

      • Steve June 30, 2014 at 2:06 pm

        WOW! You must be a great role model. Your daughter should be so proud……Give her your blessing at 18 to be prostitute. Seriously?

  • Burton June 29, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    And the funny thing is “letvotersdecide” is these people question my “rationale”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!???????????? Holy moly!

    • Jen Lindley June 29, 2014 at 9:44 pm

      We question the rationale of anyone who thinks Fox News is still a credible news source, not just you. 🙂

    • LetVotersDecide June 30, 2014 at 5:44 pm

      Her “friend” was a prostitute in Nevada. Lol! We all know what that means.

  • Burton June 30, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Who said anything about Fox News? Or are you stereotyping folks again?

    • Jen Lindley June 30, 2014 at 12:53 pm

      Stereotyping? No I’m just calling it as I see it. Now let’s get back to the point of the article … Can anyone give me ONE argument, just one, against same sex marriage that doesn’t include references to a religious or pseudo religious text?

  • Burton June 30, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    I really don’t even know what to say at this point anymore. She has more than proven my point for me. I would really suck to be progressive and have to try to defend your thought process. If you need more proof of how well liberalism works go research that “rainbow family gathering in Heber, Utah” I am going to do a little stereotyping of my own and assume a majority of these participants are most likely same-sex marriage supporters as well. God help our generation. Oh no! I said the “G” word. Throw on the hate!

    • Jen Lindley July 1, 2014 at 12:17 pm

      All you’ve been doing is stereotyping liberal people Burton. I have an ideas, why don’t you go spend some time with some of the people from rainbow family gathering and actually find out for yourself what they’re like. Something makes me seriously doubt that you will though….

  • Jen Lindley June 30, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    I would like to thank Steve, Burton and Letvotersdecide for proving just how fast Some Utah Republicans resort to name calling and shaming when they can’t think of a valid argument.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.