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Utah Voter-Approved Gay Marriage Ban Struck Down in Court

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On Wednesday, the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver ruled that states are not allowed to deny same-sex couples their ‘fundamental right’ to marry, according to The New York Times. The ruling, by a 2-1 vote, overturns the voter-approved ban in Utah.

Judge Carlos F. Lucero, wrote the majority opinion, which said, “They desire not to redefine the institution but to participate in it.”

Judge Jerome A. Holmes also voted to strike down the ban while Judge Paul J. Kelly Jr., dissented on the vote.

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The ruling was immediately stayed by the judges and Sean Reyes, the Utah attorney general, said his office would appeal the case.

“To claim that marriage, by definition, excludes certain couples is simply to insist that those couples may not marry because they have historically been denied the right to do so,” the judges wrote, according to The New York Times. “One might just as easily have argued that interracial couples are by definition excluded from the institution of marriage.”

The judges said that the issue is now in full bloom.

“May a state of the union constitutionally deny a citizen the benefit or protection of the laws of the state based solely upon the sex of the person that citizen chooses to marry?” the judges wrote. “The State of Utah may not do so.”

In another same-sex marriage case, this one in Indiana, a federal judge ruled that the state’s ban was a violation of the United States Constitution. Richard L. Young issued the ruling as the chief judge of the Federal District Court of the Southern District of Indiana.

“In less than a year, every Federal District Court to consider the issue has reached the same conclusion in thoughtful and thorough opinions — laws prohibiting the celebration and recognition of same-sex marriages are unconstitutional,” Judge Young wrote. “It is clear that the fundamental right to marry shall not be deprived to some individuals based solely on the person they choose to love. In time, Americans will look at the marriage of couples such as plaintiffs, and refer to it simply as a marriage — not a same-sex marriage.”

The Indiana attorney general has filed a notice of appeal and asked for an emergency motion for a stay of the ruling.

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