n a significant first, a U.S. appeals court has struck down a state ban on same-sex marriage, creating greater political and legal momentum for the Supreme Court to decide whether gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to wed.
It happened on Wednesday in Utah, where a panel ruled 2-1 against the prohibition, saying that any couple, regardless of sexual orientation, has the right to marry. Enforcement of the decision was stayed temporarily.
“We hold that the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right to marry, establish a family, raise children, and enjoy the full protection of a state’s marital laws,” the majority opinion from the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said.
“A state may not deny the issuance of a marriage license to two persons, or refuse to recognize their marriage, based solely upon the sex of the persons in the marriage union,” the court said…
Unclear is whether the Utah appeals court decision would also apply to the other five states within its jurisdiction in the Midwest and Mountain West. Oklahoma’s same-sex marriage ban was also before it.
In the meantime, Hillary Hall, clerk and recorder for Boulder County, Colorado, said Wednesday that she would begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses.
This is huge. It could mean the simultaneous dismantling of any existing same-sex marriage bans in Utah, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Wyoming.