Utah: Federal judge hears arguments in marriage equality ban

U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby heard arguments Wednesday from both sides of a marriage equality lawsuit, who had each asked for a summary judgment—meaning that a ruling could be made without material facts.

Lawyers from the Utah Attorney General’s Office said it’s up to
citizens of the state to decide, and roughly ten years ago, voters
overwhelmingly passed Amendment 3 to the Utah Constitution—codifying
only heterosexual marriage.

“It is evidence of the
strong commitment of the people to abide with what the traditional
definition of marriage has always been,” said Assistant Attorney General
Phil Lott. “The state is concerned with fostering responsible
procreation and generating an environment where children will be raised
by their biological mother and father.”

Judge Shelby grilled the state’s attorneys on the connection between banning same-sex marriage and the number of babies born to heterosexual couples.

“How is it by excluding same-sex couples from marrying you’re increasing procreation?” the judge asked.

Stanford Purser of the Utah Attorney General’s Office declined to answer directly, saying the issue was irrelevant in this case.

Judge Shelby indicated he hopes to have a decision by January.