The Same-Sex Marriage Situation in Utah

[Disclaimer: this is my take on the situation as I understand it.  Just sharing.]

As you are probably already aware of (you’ve been under a rock somewhere), just prior to Christmas, a district judge struck down an article in Utah’s state constitution limiting marriage in Utah to between a man and a woman as being unconstitutional.  There was a run on the county clerks’ offices and a lot of marriages were held in hallways to take advantage of what might be a narrow window of time.

Of course, the ruling was appealed and subsequently upheld.  Then it was appealed to the US Supreme Court where it was put on hold.  So the marriages have ceased for the moment and even the recent marriages are now in legal limbo (not my word; it’s Utah’s new Attorney’s General term).

The original overturning of the article was a real shock and most Utahns–who happen to be LDS–were mortified.  And this in the state where polygamy was once legal and it is still practiced, not so quietly.  The way polygamous families get around it is this: there’s one wife who actually has a state marriage license and the other(s) are spiritual wives.  So it’s actually group living.  Polygamy “officially” ended in 1896 as a trade-off to get statehood.  The church prophet/president at the time had a “revelation” from God that polygamy would now be outlawed.  Talk about people in glass houses throwing stones!

Now that the state has its stay, Gov. Herbert is hell bent to spend upwards of 2 million dollars of tax-payer money to hire an outside legal firm to win this case and return the article back to being valid in the constitution.  I’m unsure as to why they want to hire an out-of-state legal firm, but a good guess would be to remove the possibility that the church has its interests in the outcome, but you can bet it does.

In fact, whenever the TV news reports covered this story, from the start in December up until last evening, the reporters–who are supposed to maintain neutrality–could hardly mask their horror at the marriages and absolutely gloated when the stay order came down from the Supreme Court.  It was fascinating to watch.  The most blatant coverage was on our ABC affiliate, which was a surprise to me.  I would have predicted KSL, which is owned by the LDS church.  (Yes, the church is wealthy and has a for-profit side.  Besides most of the property in downtown Salt Lake City, the church owns the KSL TV/radio station, Deseret Publishing and Bookstores, Seagull Discount Bookstores, the Deseret News [chief competition for the Salt Lake Tribune], the City Creek Mall, Ancestry.com, controlling interests in the Marriott Hotel chain, Burger King, the list goes on…). In other words, the church has a lot of clout.

It will be interesting to see where this goes.  Will Utah, of all places, be the state that brings the challenge to the US Supreme Court so this is decided once and for all?  Keep your eyes to the west and watch the news.

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Published in: on January 8, 2014 at 6:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

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