Comments about ‘Price tag for defending Amendment 3 expected to reach $2 million’

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Published: Friday, Dec. 27 2013 7:40 p.m. MST

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J. S.
Houston, TX

I found many people of faith although disagree with SSM, they are kind enough to support granting similar legal rights to gay couples under civil union, just like in Colorado, which was legislated by state lawmakers.

But the reality is, amendment 3 not only bans SSM, but also bans civil union. that is exactly why it is unlikely to pass constitutional scrutiny. 10th circuit may choose not to decide whether there is a fundamental right for SSM, but still rule amendment 3 unconstitutional because it went too far. that is why amendment 3 is doomed in court.

When 10th circuit denied the stay request, they already said the request was denied because the appeal was not likely to prevail. so for those who believe $2 million will buy a win in appeal, let's get real.

J. S.
Houston, TX

Also, when state government estimated it only costs $2 million for this law suit. It is almost certain that after lengthy litigation, the final number will be much higher.

Frankly, it is not terribly wrong that AG to defend a state law, even it is unconstitutional. But to hire expensive outside lawyers to do the job for state? really? If AG and his team do not have the competency to do the job, then why should they hold the office and keep on collection paychecks?

Icthru U
redland, OR

talk about throwing money down a hole. If the teacher who has a classroom full of seventh graders who only read at a second grade level the teachers ability to teach has been tested for six years already. I suggest the teachers take a long look at the product they turn out. They will never be able to teach until they get more money. Oh wait, that is what they have said for the last 30 years. Oh well, they make good money,they have the best retirement a politician can arrange for them. Even a failing teacher knows two out of three aint bad.

Two For Flinching
Salt Lake City, UT

@ New to Utah

It doesn't matter what the opinion of gay marriage is in Utah because the majority cannot vote to take away the minority's rights. There is not a single legal argument against allowing SSM. Not one.

Far Rockaway, NY

Justice can sometimes be done in the most unexpected of manners. Back in 2008, the LDS flooded California with literally millions of dollars in their efforts to see the passage of Proposition 8 in that state, thereby terminating the right of gay California couples to marry. The LDS used its power, money, and influence to meddle in the business of another state, succeeding in that meddling. (Fortunately, Proposition 8 was declared unconstitutional by US District Court Judge Vaughn Walker; as everybody knows by now, the US Supreme Court decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry, 570 U.S. ___ (2013) preserved Judge Walker's decision.)

Now we come full circle. Federal district court judge Robert J. Shelby, widely viewed as extremely conservative and a darling of the Tea Party, had been on the bench for less than six months before being assigned the case of Kitchen v. Herbert (D. Utah, 2013). Shelby handed down his decision on December 20, holding that Utah's ban of gay marriage violates both the Due Process and the Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. He refused to stay his decision pending appeal. The US Court of Appeals refuses to issue a stay. Gay marriage is now legal in Utah.


Kaysville, UT

The Supreme Court changes people and consensus. That is why Presidents are important part of that process.

Scottsdale, AZ

At least this is an admission by the people who send others to prison, that the more you pay your lawyers the better your results will be. How about $2 million for a losing cause, and $2 million in raises for public defenders?

Kaysville, UT

Moral justice is the reason the founders of Utah came here in 1847. Deprived of their property and safety, thousands trekked across the plains to claim an unwanted wilderness for a home and the right to practice their religion as their consciences felt appropriate. They buried children, parents, grandparents and loved ones on the plains; give up this moral battle without a fight? Don't count on it.

Midwest City, USA, OK

It's a blatant disregard for the constitution of the state of Utah that opens the way for further discrimination; spending money in its defense is a sad necessity. That money -could- go toward other things, but due to the lusts and the lawless concept of the definition and purpose of marriage held by a few, it must instead be spent in this endeavor.

When it comes to human rights, the right of a child to a loving father and mother is among the most paramount and significant.

Sacramento, CA

I understand the reason for the ruling is that there was no proof given that the marriage of gay and lesbian couples was going to do harm to heterosexual marriages. So, no reason that Amendment 3 should stand. It's been a week now..have any heterosexual marriages been weakened or destroyed directly due to these new marriages so far? I wouldn't think so.

Far Rockaway, NY

Jamescmeyer -- it is established legal doctrine that no state constitution may abrogate the rights guaranteed the residents of that state by the US Constitution. A state constitution may grant the citizens of the state in question additional rights -- rights over and above those guaranteed by the US Constitution -- but may never deprive those citizens of rights guaranteed them by the US Constitution.

It is therefore not "blatant disregard" of Utah's constitution which is driving the prevailing participants in this social change. Federal District Judge Robert Shelby held that Amendment 3 violates both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, and is therefore unconstitutional and unenforceable. Federal District Judge Vaughn Walker, in the California case (Perry v. Schwarzenegger, 704 F. Supp. 2d 921 - Dist. Court, ND California 2010), held that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional for the same reasons. Both Amendment 3 and Proposition 8 shared the same constitutional infirmities, with the result that both measures were declared unconstitutional at the trial court level. The decisions of the US Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit not to issue a stay of Judge Shelby's decision bode ill for the survival of Amendment 3.

In short, gay marriage is now legal in Utah.


Two For Flinching
Salt Lake City, UT


If they wanted a theocracy, they should have traveled the other way to the Middle East. Utah is part of the United States, and therefor must be compliant with the Constitution.

Kaysville, UT

Thank you Two For Flinching,

When they claimed this wilderness, it was not part of the U.S. and not under the Constitution. This argument has not yet been decided to by the Supreme Court. In the meantime the majority in Utah have spoken. It is a State's right issue.

Salt Lake, UT

Here is one thing people aren't understanding and it doesn't matter what side of marriage you are on. Utah is giving 2 Million dollars to help the economy in another state. Not our state, ANOTHER STATE. That money isn't staying in Utah to help Utah, no it's going to Colorado or Arizona or Idaho to help that state financially.

Let that soak in.

Utah doesn't believe their own people can do this. Thats lack of trust in the people of Utah from the government.

slc, UT

Some of our local leaders are shameful..going to waste millions of dollars to fight a cause they are only going to lose? Speaking of traditional marriage, wasnt polygamy considered traditional in utah in the 1800-1900's?

Walt Nicholes
Orem, UT

it is my considered opinion that the only reason that this is being appealed is so that our brave political leaders can say (after it is all said and done) that they did everything they could.

If they don't appeal then they will be accused by Utah's 60% of conservatives of having rolled over, and it will be the end of their political careers.

We have hired attorneys in the state attorney general's office who are just as capable of conducting the appeal, but they don't want to be labeled as losers, for lose they shall. The recent several decisions of the court have all but destroyed the idea that a state can pass a religious or morality based law. That is a done deal.

Finally, don't we already have polygamists? Aren't they already quietly living in our neighborhoods and sending their kids to our schools? Some may not consider it polygamy, but if a man has 5 kids by 5 wives and continues to "cohabit" with them, then that is polygamy - whether sanctioned by the church or state or not.

The issue is dead. I was sorry to see it go.

Irwin Fletcher
Salt Lake City, UT

It's appalling the ignorance of the Constitution, states' rights, and our political system that is on display here. We are not a democracy; Utahns can not vote to take away their fellow citizen's rights, and they should be glad that they can't. In Missouri, it was "legal" to kill Mormons until 1976; ridiculous and unconstitutional of course, but in 1838, the Governor thought it sounded like a pretty good idea in order to protect "traditional morals".

There are mainstream churches (Episcopalians, for example) that wish to be able to perform marriage ceremonies for their LGBT members. To deny them the ability to do so is to deny THEIR religious freedoms. Don't worry, the LDS church will not be forced to perform gay marriages, but it is inherently unconstitutional to deny other religions the right to perform them if it fits within their theology.

The threat to traditional marriage is people who can't make them work. If your marriage is strong, two gay people getting married will have no impact on it whatsoever.

Irwin Fletcher
Salt Lake City, UT

Judge Shelby grilled the state's attorneys about the state's compelling interest in denying this right to gays and they had nothing. More expensive, private attorneys won't either.

America is not a theocracy (Thank God) and religious beliefs do not trump the constitution no matter how much you wish they did. And yes, polygamy is going to be hot on the heels of gay marriage as it should. As long as it's between multiple consenting adults, it should be legal under freedom of religious expression and individual rights to marry whoever we choose. Polygamy never should have been outlawed in the U.S. in the first place- it was/is a gross violation of religious freedom.

But where will it all end?! Someone could claim any crazy religious belief to justify their marriage. Nope, the state CAN draw the line at incestuous unions due to health/safety concerns; ditto marriage to minors and no one will recognize marriages to animals- don't be ridiculous.

A Quaker
Brooklyn, NY

"Trouble" of Vancouver, WA said:

"I'm not advocating for gay men to marry women, just that they have an equal legal right to do so."

No one has a right to ruin someone else's life. Anyone with a modicum of ethics or integrity knows that. If gay men and women are not allowed to marry their own kind, they're effectively not allowed to marry anyone.

Meanwhile, I note that your state of Washington approved gay marriage in a statewide voter referendum. Has society there collapsed yet? Our state legislature in New York approved it over two years ago, and I haven't seen any problems here yet. I'm still married to my wife of 32 years. In fact, everyone I know who was married before is still married. A couple of my gay neighbors got married, but I haven't noticed anyone being upset about it. In fact, everyone is quite neighborly. As for our Quaker Meeting, we follow our Testimony of Equality, and held our first religious marriage of a same-sex couple about ten years ago.

Red Smith
American Fork, UT

The AG's Office employes 180 "best and brightest" lawyers. We have two top law schools in the nations. One paid with tax dollars. It is a false idea to believe spending millions on outsourced lawyers will best represent the state.

Deputy Attorney Geneal Kirk Torgensen makes $212,741. Surely, if we pay $30 million in state lawyer salaries,$20 million in judges salaries we can write our own briefs.

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