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Utah Gay Marriage Appeal Argued Before Tenth Circuit

Megan Verlee, CPR
Plaintiffs in the Utah gay marriage case stand outside the federal courthouse in Denver.

Attorneys representing Utah argued before judges in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals today asking them to uphold the state’s law banning gay marriage. Late year, federal district court judge Robert Shelby overturned Amendment 3 when he ruled on a lawsuit brought by three gay couples. Utah attorney Gene Schaerr centered the state’s argument around the idea that opposite sex married couples are better parents than same sex couples. Outside the courthouse in Denver, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes told reporters that the state is trying to defend its societal interest in traditional marriage

“This case fundamentally is about the right for a state like Utah to be able to determine something as significant and fundamental as marriage through the democratic process,” said Reyes.

But the just before the hearing the state distanced itself from a study by University of Texas professor Mark Regnerus  that claims opposite sex parents are better for children than same sex parents. The state also argued that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the Windsor case allows states to regulate marriage. Peggy Tomsic who represented the plaintiffs argued that states shouldn’t be able to enforce laws that violate the 14th amendment of the constitution.  Tomsic was confident after the hearing.

“We look forward to a swift decision and have confidence that these judges will give this case the serious consideration it deserves and we look forward to bringing marriage equality to Utah and the rest of the Tenth Circuit,” said Tomsic.

The three judge panel will hear a similar case from Oklahoma next week.  They’re expected to rule on both cases at once sometime in the next few months.

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