USA, Utah: Tenth Circuit to Hear Marriage Equality Lawsuit Today

Written by scott on April 10th, 2014

Today is the day the first of the new marriage equality lawsuits reaches a district court.

Ari Ezra Waldman has a few things to look for at today’s hearing:

1. Will the court issue a ruling as broad as Judge Shelby’s or limit it in some way?

2. What, if anything, does the court say about the required level of scrutiny in antigay discrimination cases?

3. Will the political backgrounds of the judges play a role in their decision making?

Lisa Keen has a detailed look at the trial and its participants.

Towleroad reports:

The judges: The three-judge panel tasked with hearing the appeal includes two Republican and one Democratic appointee. Judge Paul Kelly (an appointee of President George H.W. Bush) is considered conservative. Judge Carlos Lucero (a Clinton appointee) is considered liberal. But both judges voted with the majority at the Tenth Circuit in the Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius case. They said the owners of the retail store were allowed, under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment free exercise clause, to cite their religious beliefs in order to deny contraceptive services in their health plans under the Affordable Care Act. Judge Jerome Holmes (a George W. Bush appointee) is the wild card. He was recused from the Hobby Lobby case. He was one of two judges in the Tenth Circuit to deny an emergency request from the state of Utah to stay a district court decision pending appeal. They said a stay was “not warranted.”

Tenth Circuit LawsuitsHRC has a map and recap of the marriage equality cases pending before the 10th Circuit:

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit has jurisdiction over Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming. Presently there are at least seven marriage equality cases in states within the Tenth Circuit that ban marriage equality. Some of the cases were filed in state courts, while the others were filed in federal courts. The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled on December 19, 2013, that same-sex couples in the state had the right to marry. The decision took effect immediately.

Meanwhile, the state just threw Mark Regnerus and his flawed gay parenting study under the bus in a last-minute brief.

Joe.my.God reports:

First, we wish to emphasize the very limited relevance to this case of the comparison addressed by Professor Regnerus. As the State’s briefing makes clear, the State’s principal concern is the potential long-term impact of a redefinition of marriage on the children of heterosexual parents. The debate over man-woman versus same-sex parenting has little if any bearing on that issue, given that being raised in a same-sex household would normally not be one of the alternatives available to children of heterosexual parents.

Second, on the limited issue addressed by the Regnerus study, the State wishes to be clear about what that study (in the State’s view) does and does not establish. The Regnerus study did not examine as its sole focus the outcomes of children raised in same-sex households but, because of sample limitations inherent in the field of study at this point, examined primarily children who acknowledged having a parent who had engaged in a same-sex relationship. Thus, the Regnerus study cannot be viewed as conclusively establishing that raising a child in a same-sex household produces outcomes that are inferior to those produced by man-woman parenting arrangements.

Ouch.

Finally, a Mormon couple with a gay son is defying the church by being featured in an ad for marriage equality.

Towleroad.com reports:

A Utah Mormon couple with a gay son (below), four other kids, and 18 grandchildren pushes for marriage equality in a new ad campaign airing this week as the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals considers a challenge to the state’s ban on gay marriage.

Will the Utah case be the next to reach the US Supreme Court?

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Utah.

 

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