One giant step forward and 1,000 gargantuan steps backward; this is the Utah way.
Last month, the state of Utah was all anyone could talk about as Federal district judge Robert J. Shelby deemed Utah’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional. His official ruling stated that Amendment 3 was “unconstitutional because it denies the Plaintiffs their rights to due process and equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.”
This came as a shock to, not only the nation, but the world; as Utah is one of America’s most notoriously conservative, and religious, states. This decision inevitably sparked mixed reactions from one end of the globe to the other.
While many were crying foul, claiming that this was an outrage and that it would obviously lead to the downfall of the sanctity of marriage and Western Civilization as we know it; others applauded Utah and their transition to the “right side of history.” Same-sex couples flocked to court houses to get married and exercise their rights as full-blooded Americans, rather than just “gay couples.”
However, the U.S. Supreme Court recently issued a stay on the decision, stating that the case would filter through the appellate courts before a final ruling would be offered.
As a result of this stay, Utah Governor Gary Herbert demanded that state agencies refuse to recognize any same-sex marriages performed after the ban was lifted, and that the validity of the institution would not be granted until, or unless, the stay is lifted. Me thinks he doth protest too much.
While it was known that this federal stay would halt the issuance of marriage licenses, most assumed that those couples who were already legally married would remain as such. Governor Herbert proved them wrong.
Chad Griffins, a predominant figure of the Human Rights Campaign stated that, “Today’s decision harms hundreds of Utah families and denies them the respect and basic protections that they deserve as legally married couples. Gov. Herbert has once again planted himself on the side of discrimination by preserving the second-class status he believes gay and lesbian Utahans merit.”
It’s no secret that Utah is the Mormon hub of the country; a religion that values marriage and family above all else. It is also no secret that, when speaking of Mormonism, many people automatically assume that those worshippers are also involved in bigamy or polygamy. The irony is not lost on the rest of us that Utah is willing to protect one socially unacceptable form of marriage while persecuting another.
“I grew up here. I know the history. This state was supposed to be where people came to be protected from intolerance,” Cathy Menehue, a Salt Lake City resident stated. Menehue has hopes of someday marrying her long-time partner in her own hometown. Intolerance or not, home is where the heart is.
Here’s hoping that the U.S. Supreme Court also falls on the right side of history, and forces intolerant Utah citizens to tuck tail and keep quiet. A girl can dream, right?