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Three Utah couples file challenge to marriage equality ban

Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

By Jacob Combs

Three same-sex couples have filed a suit in U.S. district court in Utah challenging the state’s 2004 constitutional amendment restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples only.  The new lawsuit contends that the right to marry is a fundamental right, as set down in the Supreme Court’s landmark interracial marriage ruling Loving v. Virginia in 1967.

From the AP:

“In the Utah case, the six plaintiffs ask the court to find that the state’s Amendment 3 violates the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and stop it from being enforced. In addition to depriving residents of access to state-sanctioned marriages, the law violates the rights of same-sex couples who were legally married in other states, the complaint says….

“The lawsuit names Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, Attorney General John Swallow and Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swensen as defendants. The complaint says Kitchen and Sbeity applied for marriage licence from Salt Lake County on March 22 but Swensen refused to give them one; Wood and Partridge applied for a license on Monday and also were turned down.

“‘As a result of Amendment 3 and the Marriage Discrimination Statutes, those plaintiffs are barred from marrying the individual they wish to marry,’ the lawsuit says.

“The complaint, assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby, notes the “long and painful history of societal and government-sponsored discrimination” that gays and lesbians have faced in the U.S. and says Utah is among states that have enacted laws stripping them of rights afforded to other citizens. Like Utah, 13 other states have amended their constitutions to limit marriage to a man and a woman.

“Utah’s Amendment 3 is designed to strip gays and lesbians of federal constitutional protections and state protections and rights that apply to all other citizens, the plaintiffs argue.”

You can read the couples’ full complaint here.

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