Utah Asks Supreme Court to Uphold Gay-Marriage Ban

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Appeal Is First to Reach the Supreme Court Since Justices Struck Down the Defense of Marriage Act in June 2013.>

Utah officials asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday to preserve the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, a case that could set the stage for the justices to decide whether gay couples have a constitutional right to marry.

“A vast cloud covers this entire area of the law, and only this court can lift it,” Utah said in its petition.

Two lower courts have ruled Utah’s gay-marriage ban unconstitutional. A federal trial judge struck down the law in December, prompting hundreds of Utah same-sex couples to marry. The Supreme Court in early January ordered a temporary stop to the marriages. Then the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled against Utah in June, saying the Constitution “protects the fundamental right to marry, establish a family, raise children, and enjoy the full protection of a state’s marital laws.”

Utah’s appeal is the first by a state to reach the Supreme Court since the justices in June 2013 struck down the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act, which had denied federal benefits to same-sex married couples. In a California case decided that same day, the high court avoided a ruling on the constitutionality of state gay-marriage bans.

The court could announce this fall whether it will consider Utah’s appeal. If it does, the court could issue a blockbuster ruling on gay marriage by June 2015.

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