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Gay Rights Group to Challenge Utah’s Amendment 3 in Federal Court

Andrea Smardon

A gay rights organization announced Monday it is filing a federal lawsuit against the state of Utah.  The group Restore Our Humanity is seeking to strike down Utah’s Constitutional Amendment 3, which says that marriage consists only of the legal union between a man and a woman.

Amendment 3 was passed through a ballot initiative in 2004, but Restore Our Humanity Communications Director Matt Spencer says the decision should never have been left to voters. 

“We don’t vote on human rights.  It’s not a matter of public opinion what human rights are.  They are inalienable, they are inborn, they are rights.  You don’t take them away from people.  So this is something that we have to handle through the courts,” said Spencer.  

Restore Our Humanity has selected a legal team to file a federal court challenge against Amendment 3 by late spring.  Spencer says the upcoming US Supreme Court ruling on California’s Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act will not likely have a major impact on their lawsuit. 

“This is a Utah issue, and regardless of what happens with the Supreme Court, it’s still going to have to be handled here in Utah,” he said.

However if the Supreme Court does rule broadly that all anti-gay marriage laws are unconstitutional, then Utah’s Amendment 3 would likely be invalidated.   

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