Utah cites procreation in lawsuit over same-sex marriage ( What about infertile couples?)
SALT LAKE CITY â€” Attorneys for the state ofUtah are defending a state constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union of a man and woman, saying it promotes the stateâ€™s interest in â€śresponsible procreationâ€ť and the â€śoptimal mode of child-rearing.â€ť
The state, in motions filed Friday, asked U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby of Salt Lake City to find in its favor in a lawsuit over voter-approved Amendment 3 filed by three same-sex couples who maintain itâ€™s unconstitutional.
A hearing on the summary judgment motions is set for Dec. 4 before Shelby. If Shelby declines to grant summary judgment to either side, the case will proceed for a trial.
The stateâ€™s motion notes Utah is the most-married and â€śchild-centricâ€ť state in the nation, and says the state has a right to set as policy an â€śage-old and still predominantâ€ť definition of marriage, reported The Salt Lake Tribune.
â€śSame-sex couples, who cannot procreate, do not promote the stateâ€™s interests in responsible procreation (regardless of whether they harm it),â€ť the state argues.
The state further argues the case is â€śreally about who decides, not who is right in this important policy debate,â€ť and that Amendment 3 does not discriminate because â€śneither a man nor a woman may marry a person of the same sex.â€ť
The outcome of the case will impact state sovereignty and statesâ€™ preference for children to be raised by married couples when possible, the state adds.
But in their motions filed Friday, attorneys for the same-sex couples maintain the choice of a marriage partner is a â€śfundamental right and liberty interestâ€ť protected by the U.S. Constitution and that the state amendment approved in 2004 discriminates against gays and lesbians.
The couples cite cases that have defined the freedom to marry as one of the â€śvital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness.â€ť
To restrict that right, the state must show its â€śmarriage discriminationlawsâ€ť are designed to meet a compelling government interest, they add. Amendment 3 fails that test because it furthers a moral view that same-sex couples are immoral and inferior to opposite-sex couples, they argue.
â€śThe state has not identified a single harm that it, or anyone else, would suffer as a result of allowing plaintiffs to exercise their constitutionally protected autonomy to choose a marriage partner of the same sex,â€ť the plaintiffs say.
The couples, who were denied a marriage license by the Salt Lake County Clerkâ€™s Office, filed affidavits Friday describing how they feel the stateâ€™s ban has caused them humiliation, emotional distress, pain, psychological harm and stigma.
The lack of public recognition of their relationships creates challenges that range from not being able to share gym memberships to confusion about how to fill our car rental and hotel forms and secure assets, they say.
The couples say other harms include not being able to jointly file federal and state tax returns in Utah and to have their joint holdings recognized as marital property.