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Supreme Court Looks At Same-Sex Marriage Cases

U.S. Supreme Court Justices will be talking about Utah Monday as it examines a handful of same-sex marriage cases from across the country. But whether the nation’s high court will take up Utah’s case is still unclear.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby struck down Utah’s gay marriage ban in December 2013, making the state’s ban the first to be challenged by a federal judge. In June of this year, the 10th Circuit Court in Denver concurred with Shelby’s decision. Utah and four other states have since asked the Supreme Court to settle these cases once and for all.

Carl Tobias is a constitutional law expert who teaches at the University of Richmond in Virginia. He says it’s unlikely the court will reach a decision after today, but when they do, he doubts they’ll choose just one case.

“They may want to treat different issues in different cases or some combination,” Tobias says.

Tobias says the Supreme Court will likely make a decision when appeals courts are in disagreement about gay marriage. And so far they haven’t been.

“So I think people are waiting to see if the sixth circuit is going to uphold a ban and that would generate a circuit split and I think it will be harder for the Supreme Court to tolerate that situation,” Tobias says. “You don’t want different legal regimes in Utah from Virginia and different again from Texas.”

The national gay marriage advocacy group Freedom to Marry released a poll Friday that shows Utahans are split on support for same-sex marriage, but the vast majority of residents, 67 percent, believe the Supreme Court should take up the case

500 adults were surveyed in the poll, which had a 4.4 percent margin of error. 

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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