From the Salt Lake Tribune:
A federal judge in Utah Friday struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, saying the law violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process.
“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,” wrote U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby. “Accordingly, the court finds that these laws are unconstitutional.”
Shelby’s ruling came just 16 days after he heard arguments in the case and well before his self-imposed deadline to render a decision by Jan. 7, when the next hearing in the matter was to be held.
“It feels unreal,” said Moudi Sbeity, who with his partner Derek L. Kitchen were plaintiffs in the case. “I’m just very thrilled that Derek and I will be able to get married soon, if all goes well and the state doesn’t appeal. We want a farmer’s market wedding because it’s where we spend a lot of time.”
There is no stay of the judge’s decision, so couples can apply for marriage licenses immediately. This is the first time a federal court has declared a same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional since the Supreme Court decided the Windsor decision striking down Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). It’s also the first time it has happened in a red state.
One of the REDDEST states.
If Utah appeals, it will be heard by the 10th Circuit, but for now, Merry Christmas to us all!