It’s legal: Same-sex marriage supporters celebrate court’s decision in Utah Valley

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utah-same-sex-marriage“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. … It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.” And with that, same-sex marriage became legal everywhere in the U.S.

In the majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote that the right to marry is a fundamental right under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined Kennedy in the opinion.

Before the ruling, 36 states already had legalized same-sex marriage.
Of course, not much will change in Utah because same-sex marriage has been legal here since October 2014 when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Utah’s appeal of another court’s ruling allowing the unions. Still, supporters of marriage equality are excited.

“Mostly, I’m just really happy,” said Jack Garcia, a Provo resident and director of the Provo Pride Festival. “I’m excited for other couples who couldn’t get married in their own states.”

Garcia and his husband Brian Kesler have been married for about three years, though they had to go to New York City to be wed. When they came home their marriage wasn’t initially recognized here.

But once Utah started recognizing same-sex marriages, “it became like any other marriage,” he said.

Utah first allowed same-sex marriages for several weeks between December 2013 and January 2014 — after a federal judge ruled it was unconstitutional to ban the unions — and then allowed them again last year.

Provo Pride sponsors a Pride night every Friday at 9 p.m. at City Limits 440 W. Center St. in Provo, and tonight they’ll be celebrating the Supreme Court’s decision, Garcia said.

“It’s awesome,” he said.

Equality Utah is sponsoring a celebration today in Salt Lake City starting at 6 p.m. at City Creek Park, 110 N. State St.

But not everyone is celebrating the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision. Connor Boyack, a Lehi resident and president of the Libertas Institute, a libertarian think-tank, said the decision is a cause for alarm.

“Today’s opinion — and let’s be clear, that’s all it is — provides an opportunity for lawmakers to reconsider their long-standing support for government intervention in such an important societal relationship. In the coming months, we will be encouraging elected officials to consider a proposal to repeal government licensure of marriage, allowing churches, notaries public and others to privately officiate and sanction these unions,” Boyack said in a statement.

And The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says the ruling doesn’t change anything for the religion. A statement released by the Church this morning says:

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints acknowledges that following today’s ruling by the Supreme Court, same-sex marriages are now legal in the United States. The court’s decision does not alter the Lord’s doctrine that marriage is a union between a man and a woman ordained by God. While showing respect for those who think differently, the church will continue to teach and promote marriage between a man and a woman as a central part of our doctrine and practice.”

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Amie Rose has more than 14 years of experience writing and editing at newspapers in Utah and New Mexico. She graduated from BYU with a degree in journalism. She lives in Utah Valley with her husband, toddler and crazy dog.

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