Attorney for same-sex couples files brief in Amendment 3 appeal

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 26 2014 6:10 a.m. MST

Updated: Wednesday, Feb. 26 2014 3:04 p.m. MST

Tomsic writes that the state "with remarkable candor" concedes that the purpose of Amendment 3 is to provide “special privilege and status” to opposite-sex couples and their children, in order to send the message that they are its preferred families.

"Utah’s treatment of plaintiffs and other same-sex couples in Utah as strangers, rather than families, demeans their deepest relationships and stigmatizes their children by communicating that their families are second class," according to the brief.

The plaintiffs also argue that there's no rational connection between Amendment 3 and the state's claim that the law accommodates religious freedom and reduces the potential for civic strife.

"In effect, the state is advocating that same-sex couples’ constitutional freedoms should be subject to a “heckler’s veto” — a veto that is granted only to those members of society having religious beliefs opposed to marriage for same-sex couples," Tomsic wrote. "Constitutional rights would be hollow indeed if courts were precluded from upholding them when some part of the population might be upset."

Utah has until March 4 to respond to Tuesday's filing. Oral arguments are scheduled for April 10.


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