American State of Utah Finds Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

Utah Voting Poll on Same-Sex Unions

US District Judge Robert J. Shelby has issued a ruling stating that Utah’s gay marriage ban, which was passed by voters in 2004, violates the rights of gay and lesbian couples’ to equal protection under the 14th Amendment.

The 14th Amendment requires that individual rights take precedence over states’ rights whenever these two interests are in conflict. The Judge noted that Utah failed to show how allowing same-sex marriages would in any way affect opposite-sex marriages, therefore making the state’s fears groundless and insufficient to justify denying same-sex marriages. He stated “the state’s current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason.”

Utah is now the 18th state in America to legalise gay marriage. One gay couple wasted no time and live tweeted their marriage soon after the ban was struck down, becoming the first same-sex couple to be married in Utah.

Although same-sex marriage has been successfully legalised in 17 other states, this is a surprising outcome for the socially conservative state of Utah; home to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; an organisation that is strongly against same-sex marriage.

The state Attorney General’s office is in the process of appealing the ruling and is also seeking an emergency stay to prevent same-sex marriages from taking place in the state. Their official press release can be viewed here.

New Mexico Legalises Same-Sex Marriage

Same-Sex Marriage Couple Figurines on Wedding Cake

New Mexico has become the 17th US State to legalise same-sex marriage.

The court unanimously held that because “same-gender couples (whether lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender) are a discrete group which has been subjected to a history of discrimination and violence, and which has inadequate political power to protect itself from such treatment, the classification at issue must withstand intermediate scrutiny to be constitutional.”

The acknowledgement of LGBT people as a minority vulnerable to abuse indicates that future anti-LGBT laws will be given greater scrutiny.

Date Set for Same-Sex Marriages in Britain: 24/03/2014

Same-Sex marriage Just Married couple

Same-sex marriages will be conducted in the United Kingdom from 29th March 2014. Couples wishing to be married on this date are required to give formal notice of their intention by 13th March.

Equalities Minister Maria Miller said “Marriage is one of our most important institutions, and from 29 March 2014 it will be open to everyone, irrespective of whether they fall in love with someone of the same sex or opposite sex.”

Ironically, the date also coincides with the birthday of Lord Tebbit, a conservative member of the House of Lords who is infamous for his strong opposition to LGBT rights. He voted against legislation for same-sex marriage, civil unions, gender reassignment and protection against sexual orientation discrimination.

Yet to be set is the date when couples can convert their civil partnership to marriage. However, the government have said it will be by the end of 2014.