American Foundation for Equal Rights

Marriage News Blog

Utah marriage equality case appears before U.S. Court of Appeals

Over an hour of arguments was heard by a three-judge panel today in Denver at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in the Uath marriage equality case, Kitchen v. Herbert.

This is the second time a Federal Court of Appeals has heard the question of marriage equality. AFER brought its case, Perry v. Schwarzenegger to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in December, 2011.

The three judge panel in Denver was made up of Judges Paul J. Kelly Jr., Carlos F. Lucero, and Jerome A. Holmes; a George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush respectively.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs-appellees, three same-sex couples, argued that even when the question of allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry was held under the lowest level of scrutiny, the state’s marriage ban could not stand.

Lawyers representing the state argued that the decision must be left up to the state on the grounds of federalism.

The implications of this reach beyond whether to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. Utah’s marriage ban was originally struck down by U.S. District Court Judge Robert R. Shelby on December 20, 2013. No stay was put in place until seventeen days later, and over 1,300 couples wed in that time.

The same three-judge panel will hear oral arguments in the Oklahoma marriage equality case, Bishop v. Smith, a week from today.

Topics: Blog, Utah