You read that right. Utah. The headquarters of the Mormon Church. The state that voted 71% for George Bush in 2004 and 73% for Mitt Romney in 2012. THAT Utah.
These men (photo from AP and USA Today) were able to be married in Utah. How F’n awesome is that?
The Utah federal judge wrote, “The State’s current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason.”
Utah, like Ohio, had both legislation and a state constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage.
The key to the Utah decision was the the Supreme Court’s recent opinion in United States v. Windsor. Windsor was the case last summer where the Supreme Court found that the Federal Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional.
The Utah judge reasoned that same reasoning that led the Supreme Court to strike down the federal ban on same sex marriages would lead to the striking down of state bans on same sex marriage. Indeed, as the judge noted, this is precisely what Justice Sclaia said would happen. (Scalia wrote: “How easy it is, indeed how inevitable, to reach the same conclusion with regard to state laws denying same-sex couples marital status.”)
So what about Ohio?
The case involving a same sex couple who were married shortly before one of the men died so that their marital status could appear on the death certificate reached the same result. So far, that opinion only applies to the one couple before the court.
Mike DeWine and his conservative allies are so fired up about this case because they recognize the possibility of a broader reach.
They are correct.
Right after the Windsor decision was announced, we wrote, “The Supreme Court’s decision the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) probably means the end of the ban on same sex marriages in Ohio. Sooner rather than later.”
We stand by that view. And recent court opinions have supported that legal analysis.
In the immortal words of Rafiki, “It is time.”
If lawyers and same sex couples in Utah can be successful in ciourt, then certainly lawyers and same sex couples in Ohio can be successful.
We respect the “go slow” opinions of the ACLU and other progressive attorneys who share the goal of marriage equality. But, respectfully, the time for timidity is over. Gay marriage is now legal in 18 states (including Utah). Ohio should be next.
The move to repeal the Constitutional Amendment is a good start. But a lawsuit in Ohio could bring marriage equality to our same sex couples even sooner.
Same sex couples who are committed to this fight should talk to an attorney. If you don’t know one, let us know.
Attorneys who are committed to marriage equality should start planning strategy. Wouldn’t it be great to see an Ohio Dream Team of progressive attorneys leading this fight?
A meme can be one small step: all Ohioans who support marriage equality can share a picture of Rafiki to let everyone know, “It Is Time.”