Utah appeals gay marriage case to Supreme Court

The Utah attorney genera is asking the Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of the state’s gay marriage ban. 

Attorney General Sean Reyes filed the appeal on Tuesday after the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down his state's gay marriage ban earlier this year, affirming a lower court's decision. He filed the appeal a month and a half before the deadline, asking for a speedy decision. 

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“My responsibility is to defend the State Constitution and its amendments as Utah citizens have enacted them,” he said. 

It is the first petition asking the Supreme Court hear a gay marriage case since the high court struck down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act last year, which has been heavily cited in lower court rulings striking down gay marriage bans around the country. 

"All Utah citizens will benefit when the Supreme Court provides clear finality on the important issue of state authority to define marriage," he continued. 

The question presented before the court is whether the 14th Amendment "prohibits a state from defining or recognizing marriage only as the legal union between a man and a woman."

The petition says the 10th Circuit erred when it struck down Utah's ban. The attorney general argues that the ruling deprives Utah of the fundamental right to act through the electoral process. The state enacted the ban through a referendum in 2004. 

Utah also argues that the U.S. Constitution says nothing about how states should define marriage. 

Many expect the Supreme Court to take up the issue at some point. Last year, the court did not rule on the merits of a gay marriage case in California because the parties did not have standing. 

According to SCOTUSbog, Virginia will file its own appeal with the high court on Friday. Another appeals court struck down its gay marriage ban. 

The court's fall term starts in early October. 

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