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Shelby's unfair, unnecessary overreach can only serve to further exacerbate political tensions

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  • James Whistler Chicago, IL
    Jan. 5, 2014 8:05 a.m.

    I will say once again (and perhaps only for the moderator's benefit): this newspaper printed an op/ed piece that compared a judge letting gay people get married to an animal-rights activist releasing minks from a fur farm. I commented: "Comparing gay people to minks is like comparing black people to monkeys." This comment was rejected as being "off topic or disruptive." Gentlemen, please. The comment is SO on-target that you're uncomfortable with it and perhaps embarrassed. (Clueless is the third alternative. You pick.)

  • James Whistler Chicago, IL
    Jan. 4, 2014 3:21 p.m.

    Nelson, and this newspaper, seem to think it's ok to compare letting gay people get married to releasing minks from a farm. Comparing gay people to farm animals is obnoxious.

  • Michael_Haskins Salt Lake, UT
    Jan. 3, 2014 11:24 p.m.

    Alexis de Toqueville in 1851 warned about the Tyranny of the Majority in his book, Democracy in America. Thankfully the framers of the US Constitution set up a system of Checks and Balances to avoid Mob Rule and ensure that laws must be Constitutional, and protect ALL citizens. Discrimination is IMORAL! (Evil)

  • Bob K portland, OR
    Jan. 2, 2014 5:03 p.m.

    It seems there is a rush by Utah news outlets, officials. and professors who "happen to be mormons" to jump on the bandwagon of publicly trashing Judge Selby.

    Comparing correcting a gross injustice, so that taxpaying, law-abiding citizens who wish to marry can do so to "letting the minks out of the barn" would be funny if the man were not serious in writing it.

    Just because many of the voters, political contributors, and newspaper readers of Utah are older lds people, it seems that you guys are rushing to kiss their hands, at the expense of fairness and of noticing the US Constitution.

    Jesus said a few things about how to treat our fellow citizens.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Jan. 2, 2014 3:46 p.m.

    ksampow
    What gay people do in their marriage has no ill effect on you or society. The State's attorneys failed to convince Judge Shelby on that and they'll have no better luck with any other judge or court. What opponenents of his ruling fail to see is no person, state or law can take away what our founders envisioned for all us. Equal protection and freedoms under the constitution. I'm grateful I live in a country where a State or a group of people are not entitled to take away anothers right to pursue hapiness if it does no harm to others.

  • ksampow Farr West, Utah
    Jan. 2, 2014 2:46 p.m.

    JeffreyRO555:
    You are wrong. Gay people are not prohibited from marrying. They may marry a person of the opposite gender just as anyone can. They want to REDEFINE what marrying means so that it applies to their lifestyle.

    LDS Liberal, Jeffsla and others who say there is no basis for opposing gay marriage:

    The people of the state of Utah have defined marriage (and obviously it is not a new or unusual definition). Gay people can do what they like without misapplying a well-established legal term to those actions. They want to steal the name of a time-honored institution and change it to suit their whims.

  • Saguaro Scottsdale, AZ
    Jan. 2, 2014 9:04 a.m.

    Now for an editorial criticizing the Utah Attorney General's office for not requesting a stay before the judge issued his decision. That's what a competent law office would have done. But in this case, the AG's office created its own "Don't Ask" policy. Utah wins: in its over-confidence, it doesn't take the case seriously, so it doesn't request a stay before the decision; and that's what it won.

  • Starry starry night Palm Springs , CA
    Jan. 1, 2014 5:12 p.m.

    It is clear that the American people and the judiciary are taking this issue very seriously.
    As we come closer to a final resolution on this divisive issue it becomes clearer every week that
    Same sex couples will be able to marry legally in every corner of this nation.
    Shelby recognizes this and the decisions that have come before his show a clear path towards justice.
    He will not grant a stay and nor should the Supreme Court because at this point justice delayed is justice denied.

  • the old switcharoo mesa, AZ
    Jan. 1, 2014 11:43 a.m.

    The heart of this whole argument comes from this country NOT having separated religion and state.

    The same right wingers would change their opinions if the state religion was not their own so I find their arguments disingenuous and hypocritical.

    If the majority wanted to worship golden calf marriages and not recognize anything else they would be upset and fighting for their equality under the law.

  • Gail Fitches Layton, UT
    Dec. 31, 2013 6:09 p.m.

    This is one Judge who is using his own interpretations of the law, or it would have been legal from the start. This is to push another anything goes Agenda.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Dec. 31, 2013 6:08 p.m.

    The over-reach of the judge is obvious.

    It is one thing to decide whether a law is constitutional.

    But to order a state to to allow gay marriages is entirely another thing

    That is why this judge has gone beyond his scope of power.

    And why the judge is an partisan activist, he has become a judicial activist and not an objective judge.

    It should not matter what your stance is on the issue, an activist judge is an activist judge when he goes beyond only deciding constitutionality.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Dec. 31, 2013 5:34 p.m.

    I think if you check with Senator Valentine you will find the problem was that Utah's Attorney General office never asked for a stay until it was too late. There were similar problems with the Polygamy case. Shouldn't the authors of these editorials address this central before accusing the Judge of overreaching?

  • higv Dietrich, ID
    Dec. 31, 2013 5:20 p.m.

    @ LDS Liberal the people of Utah voted on the law not the State legislature.

  • WestGranger West Valley City, Utah
    Dec. 31, 2013 4:37 p.m.

    If the situation were reversed and a divisive law that was supported by the progressives in our state was suddenly overturned, there would be a loud and resounding cry of injustice. In a republic, such a major cultural issue that has been decided by the voters should be dealt with much more carefully and have a more thorough treatment through the legislative and judicial processes. The sacred will of the people shouldn't be overturned so suddenly and unceremoniously simply because it is popular among a certain judge or a certain group of people. The cultural war is real and both sides need to play fair or the war will just intensify. Compromise and tolerance have taken a back seat to a narrow-minded and zealous ideology among both liberals and conservatives.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 31, 2013 4:11 p.m.

    The purpose of religion is to enslave the minds of people. The reason for such enslavement is the same as that of any other group, tribe, business or nation. That reason is to garner the control and the wealth of all the world.

    Membership, belief and submission readily traded by ordinary humans for hope and satisfaction of eternal life.

    Not content with the strength of their story (dogma) they invented crutches and traps to acquire new members. Some even went so far as to kill if refused. Sin was the invention of religion. Its purpose was to create the need to belong and believe. There is no sin in the natural world. The biggest crutch is government enforcement.

    Religion like fire is a wonder thing for helping us find comfort and happiness, but if not controlled could destroy the world.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 31, 2013 3:43 p.m.

    RE: procuradorfiscal "And, of course, we ain't seen nothing, yet. Once the Supreme Court reverses, properly citing the
    "political question doctrine," and all the overanxious, unwise LGBT couples begin to wave their void marriage certificates, bleating about how Utah destroys marriages, it'll be us, real Utahns, that they'll be blaming, not the ethics-challenged, agenda-driven "judge" who is the real culprit.

    Of course, we know that was the plan all along.

    Liberals. So predictable."

    You sir are living in your own version of reality. You've lost it. And, Utah has lost it. Same gender marriage is here and I dare say we can live with it just fine. I've had some reservations about gay marriage, but have none now. The rest of you will get used to it too.

  • Really??? Kearns, UT
    Dec. 31, 2013 3:34 p.m.

    "If gay people decide to marry all they need do is pick one person of the opposite sex just like anybody else."

    Trust me when I say that choosing that path has led to many unhappy marriages. Even your church leaders counsel against doing that now.

    "It is difficult not to be skeptical about the Judge's actions when he not only refuses to stay the matter but also releases his opinion of the Friday before the Christmas holiday, thus tremendously complicating any effort to obtain a stay. This cannot have been a coincidence."

    Could you imagine how this would have played out after the holidays? Your children would be in school discussing this issue with other students and those "liberal" teachers instead of discussing this at home.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 31, 2013 3:27 p.m.

    AllSeeingEye:

    I don't know anything about Shelby, other than he's 43 and was endorsed by Hatch & Lee as being a good candidate for the position in Utah. (When you look at one of the previous Hatch 'endorsees' when Clinton was president, Ted Stewart, and his lack of courtroom experience, it's hard to feel too bad for Hatch).

    Given that two judges from the 10th circuit refused to issue a stay, it seems Shelby's opinion and refusal to issue a stay is getting solid respect up the chain, so far. From what I understand, Shelby was asking leading questions of the Utah attorneys, seemingly trying to get them to present stronger arguments, so considering Shelby basically is following the legal course Scalia suggested would occur, and considering the upheaval and incompetence demonstrated by Utah voters in electing the flagrantly corrupt - and apparently inept - John Swallow, I'm having a hard time mustering sympathy.

  • AllSeeingEye Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 31, 2013 1:13 p.m.

    The real problem Judge Shelby creates, regardless of one's views concerning the merits of the case, is that everyone knows the issue will ultimately be decided by the United States Supreme Court. Given that fact it seems foolhardy, at best, for a district court judge to require immediate implementation of his decision when it is possible that a circuit court of appeals or the U.S. Supreme Court will reverse that decision. Accomplished marriages then may turn out to be illegal, and cleaning up the ensuing mess will be a nightmare for everyone involved.

    It is difficult not to be skeptical about the Judge's actions when he not only refuses to stay the matter but also releases his opinion of the Friday before the Christmas holiday, thus tremendously complicating any effort to obtain a stay. This cannot have been a coincidence. It's a very old trick among lawyers--usually involving the filing of a motion late on a Friday, even better on a Friday before a holiday, to make it more difficult for the other side to respond.

    I expect better from the federal judiciary, and my views about gay marriage itself might surprise you.

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Dec. 31, 2013 12:15 p.m.

    @Lane Myer;

    I think you're a bit overly optimistic about Mike's ability to adapt to change.

    @wrz;

    "So, why do you think you need marriage?"

    Umm, for the same reasons heterosexuals need marriage. Legal rights and benefits, inheritance, custody, and a whole host of other things. Why did you get married? It's probably the same reasons we'll be getting married too.

    @Miss Piggie;

    What if WE required YOU to marry someone of the "same sex"? Would you be okay with that?

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    Dec. 31, 2013 12:11 p.m.

    @hnoel
    Layton, UT

    Exactly!
    Thanks for that very thoughtful comment.

    And to the nay-sayers;
    Stop TRAMPLING the U.S. Constitution.

  • hnoel Layton, UT
    Dec. 31, 2013 11:39 a.m.

    Those who constantly accuse Shelby of being an "activist" judge who had no right to rule Utah's third amendment as "unconstitutional" are missing the point by a mile. Not only did he have the right to make his decision, it was his responsibility. The case was filed.....the arguments were made....and he was obligated to make a decision. That's how the system works. If the decision is not the one you want, there are avenues of appeal....many avenues. The issue is now following that important process. As important as the will of the people is, the US Constitution does not allow it to run over the rights of anyone......even and especially, the minority. Regardless of which side of this issue you are on, you must be pleased to see the process working. If Shelby was wrong, the complex system of checks and balances will reveal that. If he was right, and the law is unconstitutional, they will reveal that as well. Meantime, let's grow up and pay attention to the process -- stop calling people names. So far the system is working -- and it will continue to work throughout the process.

  • matt4226 Holladay, UT
    Dec. 31, 2013 11:34 a.m.

    The irony in all of this is that Utah may very well be the state that caused gay marriage to go nationwide. If you want to blame someone, blame the people who felt it was necessary to even propose the law in the first place. Had Utah left it alone we would be like many other states waiting for the Supreme Court to make their ruling on the matter.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 31, 2013 11:07 a.m.

    @procuradorfiscal
    "He's doing exactly what he was appointed to do."

    You want to pretend that liberals in the White House and Congress apply litmus tests to their judicial picks and that conservatives don't?

    "Obama's judicial appointees have established an unblemished record as the most leftist, the most doctrinaire, the most agenda-driven "judges" since Jim-Crow days."

    Do you actually have a means of ascertaining that or are you just guessing? For instance, I know this is the most radical Republican Congress in half a century because of DW-NOMINATE scores.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 31, 2013 10:41 a.m.

    Procuradorafiscal made a statement that deserves more attention: "liberals cannot be trusted with political power".

    What exactly do you mean by that? Do you propose that liberals be denied political rights? Are you proposing some kind of suspension of the Constitution until things can be made correct again, from the conservative perspective?

    Obama was elected President, *twice*. We've seen governments in Latin America overthrown by force to re-institute conservative values, (in their view). to turn back progress voted by the people, to essentially cleanse the nation.

    Please elaborate on your statement, if you would.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Dec. 31, 2013 10:25 a.m.

    @Mike Richards

    We are not identified by what we "feel" we are. Equal protection does not give anyone the right to claim that he is not who he appears to be because, in his mind, he does not want the body that his Creator gave him.
    11:56 a.m. Dec. 30, 2013

    @Mike Richards

    I said nothing about "transgender". More importantly, why are you demanding that we ignore God when we discuss moral issues?

    Judge Shelby ruled that "feelings" are the basis of equality. After all, even the honorable Judge cannot convince; that a male who thinks of himself as female is not, in all reality, a male with all of the physical characteristics of a male.
    ============

    1. Um, Yes - you did mention transgender, see above.

    2. As for defining ourselves based on "feelings";
    I "feel" the Church is true.
    So, I define myself as LDS (Mormon) and therefore protected under the Constitution based on those "feelings".
    And that same right - based on feelings - applies to others as well.

    3. I said nothing about "ignoring" God, I simply ask we keep God out of Government.
    Do you "feel" it's OK for other to implement Sharia Law by evoking Allah and the Koran?

  • Miss Piggie Phoenix, AZ
    Dec. 31, 2013 10:17 a.m.

    @JeffreyRO555:
    "When same-sex marriage is illegal, only gay people are prohibited from marrying, a clear and obvious violation of equal protection guarantees."

    Not true. If gay people decide to marry all they need do is pick one person of the opposite sex just like anybody else. And many gays have done just that and have adjusted their attitudes to make it work. And it does. Everyone born into this world has some kind of eccentricities to deal with and put behind them... even heterosexuals.

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    Dec. 31, 2013 9:56 a.m.

    @Jeffsfla:
    "Sorry I cannot agree with you. Judge Shelby was asked to rule using established constitutional writings."

    There are no writings in the US Constitution about marriage. And if you mean the 14th Amendment, it refers to equal protection understate law...and Utah' state law says if you wanna marry pick one person of the oppose sex. That law applies to everyone including polygamists, pedophiles, juveniles, etc.

    @digbythefox:
    "My partner and I have considered rushing and getting married. We've been together for almost three years now..."

    So, why do you think you need marriage? Sounds like you're just fine with how things are. Remember, if you get married and later decide to split the sheets, you'll likely end up in divorce court with all the falderol that entails. Better that you stay unmarried and enjoy life than encounter the vicissitudes of marriage if things go awry.

    @2 bits:
    "...so where did the law come from that all counties must issue licenses immediately (from the bench)."

    There is no such Utah law to issue licenses to LGBTs. Utah law says marriage is between one man and one woman. All licenses issue to gays were illegal.

  • PolishBear Charleston, WV
    Dec. 31, 2013 9:16 a.m.

    Mike Richards asks, "Why are you demanding that we ignore God when we discuss moral issues? Is He not welcome in our society?"

    Which God are you referring to? The God of the Bible? The Quran? The Talmud? The Bhagavad Gita? If you can get your God to schedule a press conference and explain his expectations for modern society a little better, it would be helpful.

    Mr Richards also asks, "Are His commandments no longer binding on society?"

    Our civilization functions smoothly when we abide by The Golden Rule: We do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Put all the religious dogma and ritual aside, and this is what our laws boil down to. We don’t lie or bear false witness because we won’t want people to lie to us. We don’t steal from other people because we do not want people stealing from us. We don’t betray the trust of our spouses because we wouldn’t want them doing the same to us. And so forth.

    So why the double standard when it comes to Gay and Straight couples?

  • Lane Myer Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 31, 2013 8:53 a.m.

    Mike Richards

    South Jordan, Utah

    LDS Liberal,

    Your remarks about my post are false and misleading. I said nothing about "transgender". Why would change the topic? More importantly, why are you demanding that we ignore God when we discuss moral issues? Is He not welcome in our society? Are His commandments no longer binding on society?

    ------------

    You need to get to know a gay couple. They are not playing house with a wife and a husband. They are two men who love each other. Ok, I hear your mind groaning, but it can open a little and see that no one is the woman in the relationship. They are equals who are building a family a bit different than what you are used to. But I have faith in you. I believe that you can see the difference and maybe accept that their way is not your way, but as citizens of the United States, they have a right to pursue happiness any way they can, as long as they are not harming another.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    Dec. 31, 2013 8:32 a.m.

    To all of you that want to talk about this leading to cousins getting married read this passage from the Utah State Courts website.
    "You cannot marry your first cousin, or anyone related more closely than a first cousin, such as an aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, parent or child, brother or sister.
    However, first cousins can marry if both are over 65, or, if both parties are over 55, if the court finds that they are unable to reproduce."
    And it's been on the book a whole lot longer than gay marriage.......

  • PolishBear Charleston, WV
    Dec. 31, 2013 8:09 a.m.

    J. Thompson writes, "How very adventuresome of [Gay couples] to redefine the "family" and to change the purpose of "family.""

    Let me reassure you: For the vast majority of people who are Straight (i.e. heterosexual), absolutely nothing about marriage or the family is changing. Nothing is being redefined. Did you think the marriage equality movement was some sinister effort to make homosexuality compulsory for everyone? Gee, I hope not! The human population will always be predominantly Straight, and Straight people will continue to date, get engaged, marry, and build lives and families together as they always have. None of that is going to be affected whether (or not) Gay couples do the same.

    As for "God's Word" or LDS doctrine, it's irrelevant in a society guided by the Constitution. Ours is not a theocracy.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Dec. 31, 2013 8:04 a.m.

    This op-ed is nothing but a political argument. From a reasoned judicial argument, Judge Shelby is on firm ground. He may be overruled, or not, but the decision is rational, addresses the key arguments of the parties, and is supported by prior case law. One may disagree on principle, but don't accuse the judge of overreaching or acting outside his authority. What he did was completely legitimate and in the legal tradition of this country since John Marshall served as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. If conservatives love the Constitution and the system of government that it established, then they must respect the process, even if they wish the decision had been the other way. If the judge is wrong, then the process will fix it. But don't count on it. We are in the midst of further evolution on civil rights and a more consistent application of the Constitution rather than having a government driven by religion.

  • PolishBear Charleston, WV
    Dec. 31, 2013 7:11 a.m.

    I'm sure political tensions were "exacerbated" in the Deep South back in the 1950s and 1960s when all those uppity negroes started agitating for THEIR civil rights. And if the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been put to a popular vote in the Deep South, I think we all know how THAT would've turned out.

    But why should fair treatment for law-abiding, taxpaying Gay Americans be even remotely controversial? People who are Straight (i.e. heterosexual) have never had to worry about being fired from their jobs, kicked out of their rental properties, turned away from businesses, targeted with vandalism or violence, or denied the right to marry the person they love solely because of THEIR sexual orientation. I don't think it's asking too much that Gay people shouldn't have to worry about these things, either.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Dec. 31, 2013 6:55 a.m.

    Mike Richards

    We are not identified by what we "feel" we are. Equal protection does not give anyone the right to claim that he is not who he appears to be because, in his mind, he does not want the body that his Creator gave him.
    11:56 a.m.

    Mike Richards

    I said nothing about "transgender". More importantly, why are you demanding that we ignore God when we discuss moral issues?

    Judge Shelby ruled that "feelings" are the basis of equality. After all, even the honorable Judge cannot convince… that a male who thinks of himself as female is not, in all reality, a male with all of the physical characteristics of a male.

    ============

    1. Sure you mentioned transgender, see above.

    2. As for defining ourselves based on “feelings” –
    Do you “feel” the HolyGhost?
    Do you “feel” the Church is true?
    Then - Yes, you ARE being protected under the Constitution to define yourself based on “feelings”.
    And that same equal right applies to others.

    3. I said nothing about “ignoring” God, I simply demand keeping God out of Government. You are no different than Muslim extremists implementing Sharia Law evoking Allah and the Koran.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    Dec. 31, 2013 4:50 a.m.

    Apparently unlike a number of the people commenting in this thread (and unlike the author of the article), I HAVE read and analyzed Judge Shelby's decision. Judge Shelby's decision is not unfair, or unnecessary, or overreach. It is a solidly based and soundly argued decision which is supported by the Constitution and by considerable and weighty precedent going back to the 1800s. He is not "making law" or "legislating from the bench"; or any of myriad other slurs cast at him by those who don't like the fact that they can no longer exercise their prejudice and impose discrimination under color of law.

    Kudos to Judge Shelby for an excellent decision which stands an excellent chance of remaining in force and becoming the case which allows same sex marriage to be legal in all the United States.

  • digbythefox Logan, UT
    Dec. 30, 2013 11:44 p.m.

    My apologies, those who believe in a god. I don't, and I'd prefer that my marriage not be impeded by a god I don't worship.

  • Flair Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 30, 2013 8:23 p.m.

    Dear @J Thompson,

    The lord told me something completely different.

    We've hired Judge Shelby to mediate.

    You lost.

    In the US, 'He' does not set the rules...sorry.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Dec. 30, 2013 8:15 p.m.

    Political tensions are going to be further exacerbated?

    How?

    Is the majority in Utah going to round up people who voted for Obama and send us to concentration camps? Are they going to seek revenge by removing all air quality regulations and allow refineries to pollute at will? Are they going to send a message by letting class sizes to balloon to 50? Are they going to Legislate in private caucuses?

    Democrats in Utah have nothing to lose, really. Our "revenge" is to point out that Utah is still part of the United States.

    Maybe Powell is threatening secession, otherwise it's tough to imagine how political tensions could be worse, because to have tension there needs to be contention, competition, some sort of drama that elections might turn out one way or the other. None of that exists.

    Republicans have complete domination in Utah, comfortably cruising through all kinds of scandals with no remote threat of accountability from the voters. Let the tensions boil over, I guess.

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Dec. 30, 2013 8:13 p.m.

    This activist judge seems to think that the Proclamation on the Family is not the law of the land.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Dec. 30, 2013 6:13 p.m.

    Some claim the idea of "no harm, no foul" when they assert that same-sex unions are no big deal. How very adventuresome of them to assume that they have authority to redefine the "family" and to change the purpose of "family".

    The Lord told the world, through his Prophets:

    "We, the Firt Presidentcy and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children."

    "All human beings - male and female - are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose."

    ----

    That opening statement is concise and clear enough for anyone to understand. God loves us enough to allow us agency and then to hold us accountable for our actions because each action has a ripple effect throughout society. He set the rules, not Judge Shelby.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    Dec. 30, 2013 5:17 p.m.

    "Even if the mink farmer has a documented record of abuse, public opinion typically does not condone the activist's failure to play by known and accepted rules, despite the activist's good intentions."

    Interesting that Rep. Powell chose this for his analogy. It places Amendment supporters in the position of those with "a documented record of abuse." But maybe Mr. Powell just chose poorly because this analogy also places Judge Shelby in the activist's role when he was, in fact, playing exactly by the "known and accepted rules," i.e. the U.S. Constitution and the case law that elucidates it.

    I believe that most Amendment supporters genuinely thought they were doing the righteous thing when they voted to pass the law, and I believe that most of them could not see its true discriminatory nature because of their religious beliefs. So maybe God used Judge Shelby to remove their blinders. Maybe Rep. Powell should be singing "Amazing Grace" instead of the blues.

  • Jace NM C, NM
    Dec. 30, 2013 5:02 p.m.

    This chicken little falls back to hyperbole to scare and frighten. Judge Shelby's ruling startling? Surprising perhaps, but no cause to sound alarms. No harm has or will come to any Utah citizen due to this ruling. County officials engaged in a "flurry" of appeals? Four appeals constitute a flurry? Almost no one believed Judge Shelby would rule on the plaintiffs behalf? Really? Then why would anyone have filed suit? For fun? The state had it's day in court. Had they presented any rational defense, they'd have won. Now the state is in shock because it just expected to win, just because it's the state. Judge Shelby did not over reach, he simply weighed the arguments, applied the constitution, and the Windsor precedent as he must. He did not create any new law. It's as if the law said ALL citizens in Utah are entitled to a drivers license EXCEPT gay people because the majority voted their rights away. All judge Shelby did was eliminate the unconstitutional "Except Gay People" Clause from existing law. No over reach. Just removal of unconstitutional language.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Dec. 30, 2013 4:52 p.m.

    LDS Liberal,

    Your remarks about my post are false and misleading. I said nothing about "transgender". Why would change the topic? More importantly, why are you demanding that we ignore God when we discuss moral issues? Is He not welcome in our society? Are His commandments no longer binding on society?

    Judge Shelby ruled that "feelings" are the basis of equality. After all, even the honorable Judge cannot convince you, me or any citizen in America that a male who thinks of himself as female is not, in all reality, a male with all of the physical characteristics of a male. The honorable Judge could not find a doctor who would convince you, me, or anyone else in America that a woman is not a woman. Therefore, what did he tell us? He told us that the 14th Amendment guarantees you the "right" to demand that society have no rules to protect its most fundamental unit, the family, against a full frontal assault by those who claim that they "feel" that they are the wrong sex. He used the 14th Amendment as the basis for his ruling, ignoring all of our history and all societal norms.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Dec. 30, 2013 4:49 p.m.

    Theirs only one group trying to exacerbate political tensions, it's the same conservatives that make their decisions based on feelings and emotions wrapped in religious speeches and false patriotism seeking to deny rights given by their fellow man to all men, not just those they see at church on Sunday.

    What protects society against citizens who "feel" that they can define marriage, that they can define family, that they can freely teach children that "religion", not the constitution, determines rights granted to Americans?

    Who rushed to define the above only a few years ago and were so hateful they couldn't even leave wiggle room for Unions, because the law was nothing but animus toward one group of people. Laws like this, are nothing short of "I hate you and will deny you any and all rights I can, because I think I can.

  • Flair Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 30, 2013 4:33 p.m.

    Lemme see if I understand your argument, Rep. King. You were surprised by this ruling from a Federal Judge. And because you were surprised, it should go to the Supreme Court first?

    You haven't been paying attention, sir. Progressives have been talking considerably about marriage equality in Utah over the past 6 months. Heck, within minutes of the DOMA decision, the president of the Human Rights Campaign stated on national TV that he was flying to SLC to discuss this case. It was even in TIME magazine in November. Where are you getting your news? I assure you, for those of us fighting for equality, this was no surprise and definitely is not premature.

    No one "owes" you advance notice. The AG's office knew of the case. It was in all the media. Why didn't you know?

    I suspect you did. But like the state of Utah, you were too cavalier regarding the outcome.

    So here's a hint for your conservative buddies: Oregon, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado and Nevada are next. Just a heads up!

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Dec. 30, 2013 4:25 p.m.

    In denying a stay, the federal district court and the appeals court sent a message that the state of Utah does not have a significant likelihood of prevailing on appeal. Had the courts felt otherwise, I suspect a stay would have been granted.

  • micawber Centerville, UT
    Dec. 30, 2013 3:30 p.m.

    @4601:

    Potter Stewart actually wrote: "I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description ["hard-core pornography"]; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that."

    A much different meaning from your paraphrase.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Dec. 30, 2013 3:27 p.m.

    Re: "So... you mean to tell me that an unelected federal judge . . . is doing this for political vote gathering purposes?"

    Yep. He's doing exactly what he was appointed to do.

    On the hustings, candidate Obama promised, regarding his judicial appointments, "We need somebody who's got the heart, the empathy . . . to understand what it's like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old -– and that's THE CRITERION [my emphasis] by which I'll be selecting my judges."

    He has been true to that promise, if none of the rest.

    Using that single criterion, Obama's judicial appointees have established an unblemished record as the most leftist, the most doctrinaire, the most agenda-driven "judges" since Jim-Crow days.

    Shelby is just one of way, WAY too many appointees that proves, yet again -- liberals can't be trusted with political power. Their rigidly-enforced orthodoxy is just too destructive of America and Americans.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Dec. 30, 2013 3:10 p.m.

    I read the 53 page decision also and I saw a lot of opinion, citing cases in different Federal Courts in different circuits which would not apply in Utah. I also saw that he cited the dissenting opintion on the DOMA from Judge Scalia, which by the way, has no force of law. I saw that he didn't cite Justice Kennedy's majority opinion stating that it was still up to the states to determine the definition of marriage. I agree that this Judge overreached.

    Had the Utah Legislature voted to allow homosexual marriage, I wouldn't have liked it but it would have been the people speaking just like in Hawaii. A federal judge imposing his will? Not good.
    And in these types of cases, generally stays are issued while the case winds its way through the courts. But, it's all about the agenda.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Dec. 30, 2013 2:55 p.m.

    Is it Monday? Oh it is! It must be! It's the weekly whine from the right!

    Next week we will be on "the left's war on New Year."

    And the week after that will be some complaint about Obama.

    And after that another interview with Mitt Romney and a fantasy of what life would be like if he had won.

    Then we will repeat some other attack on Utah by the mean ol federal government.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Dec. 30, 2013 2:44 p.m.

    Anyone else remember Jon Huntsman Jr. saying the GOP needed to stop and rethink where this was going,
    and they threw him under the bus for it?

    Anyone?...

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Dec. 30, 2013 2:36 p.m.

    Based on some comments here (2 bits insightful comment notwithstanding) and the previous article (Judge or King?), this issue seems far too emotional to have a reasonable discussion about the merits of judicial activism vs. judicial restraint.

    I knew it was bad when LDS Liberal attacked me under the previous article as someone who listens to AM radio and tramples the constitution – really? Have you never read one comment I’ve made on DN (90% of which probably agree with you)? Wonder if this is how Caesar felt when he saw Brutus (with a knife) for the last time.

    So be it…

    I’ll just say this for everyone applauding this decision (not the end result, which I applaud as well) – be careful what you wish for.

    If judges can exert this amount of power to make law & social policy, they can certainly do it on a whole host of issues that will make your heads spin.

    And with the conservative strategy of trying to pack the courts (why Reid was forced to end the filibuster rule for judicial nominees), you may regret this power judges now have.

  • 4601 Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 30, 2013 2:15 p.m.

    Shelby's opinion is reminiscent of the judge who noted, "You can call it pornography if you want, but I know what I like."

  • Ranch Here, UT
    Dec. 30, 2013 2:03 p.m.

    One would hope that an elected representative would better understand the role of the Judiciary.

    @2 bits;

    The only law forbidding same-sex marriages in Utah was struck down. Since it was no longer illegal, it was clearly legal.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 30, 2013 1:58 p.m.

    @procuradorfiscal
    "Yeah, that's what callow, doctrinaire liberals want -- political tension."

    That depends, is a lack of political tension defined as "Republicans/conservatives in this state getting whatever they want without opposition"?

    "Once the Supreme Court reverses, properly citing the
    "political question doctrine," and all the overanxious, unwise LGBT couples begin to wave their void marriage certificates"

    Oh, you don't have to worry about that, since you're not going to win the appeal.

    "It's a political principle -- "buy needed votes where you can" -- nothing more."

    So... you mean to tell me that an unelected federal judge who has no use for any sort vote seeking in a state where Democrats are pretty much non-existent beyond Salt Lake City/County gov't... is doing this for political vote gathering purposes?

  • AlpineBob Eltopia, WA
    Dec. 30, 2013 1:57 p.m.

    A lot of hand-wringing and denial here. While I get the fairly minor point that judge's rulings sometimes have larger impact than the immediate parties--I don't agree with the notion that somehow there are two distinctly different job descriptions. Having read the full 53 page ruling I was struck that ruling was well-articulated and grounded in both what appears to be sound legal arguments (I admit I'm not a lawyer though) and an empathy for both the state of Utah and parties involved.

    I think his decision is going to stand.

    As for others that seem to want to cast aspersions that the judge is "liberal" and what passes as typical--I can't help but remind them that one of their other posterchildren of conservative values also defected some time ago. Theodore Olsen changed his tune years ago..as I think 20 or 30% of the public has as well.

    You can keep wringing your hands if you want, but it's coming across about the same as segregationists did after 1964--on the wrong side of history.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Dec. 30, 2013 1:35 p.m.

    Re: ". . . the legal principles driving the country to legalize same-sex marriage, primarily equal protection of the law, does not apply to multi-person marriages or close relative marriages."

    Calling Shelby's reasoning a "legal principle" dignifies it more than it deserves. It's a political principle -- "buy needed votes where you can" -- nothing more.

    "Big tent" liberal politics has to buy votes from so many unaffiliated, mutually contradictory constituencies, it has to make distinctions without a difference -- like equal protection of the law only applies to the constituencies they favor, not to anyone else.

    In Orwellian newspeak, that translates into -- "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

    The liberal motto.

  • Stalwart Sentinel San Jose, CA
    Dec. 30, 2013 1:09 p.m.

    Apparently, Mr. Powell does not subscribe to the notion that "justice delayed is justice denied." Very sad.

    procuradorfiscal - Just to make sure I understood you, in your uninformed opinion, this will ultimately be decided by the SCOTUS incorrectly applying the political question doctrine? Wow, you guys sure are desperate.

    Grasping at straws - Conservatives... so predictable.

  • JeffreyRO555 Auburn Hills, MI
    Dec. 30, 2013 1:06 p.m.

    "I think the writing is on the wall that no restrictions on the nature of the marriage relationship can be allowed (same sex, more than one, close relative, etc)."

    Well, no, the legal principles driving the country to legalize same-sex marriage, primarily equal protection of the law, does not apply to multi-person marriages or close relative marriages. In these two situations, all persons are prohibited equally from participating in those kinds of marriages. When same-sex marriage is illegal, only gay people are prohibited from marrying, a clear and obvious violation of equal protection guarantees.

    There is a huge difference between being told you can't have a spouse at all, and being told you can't have more than one spouse, or a sibling spouse.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Dec. 30, 2013 1:03 p.m.

    Mike Richards
    South Jordan, Utah
    11:56 a.m. Dec. 30, 2013

    =========

    1. Mike -- You are not even on the same page as the rest of us.
    Gay people are not the same as Transgender.
    Stop mixing them up.

    2. God made some people Hemorphidites.
    How do you account for that?

    3. The Creator said -- As a man (woman) thinketh, so is he (she).

    4. God is not in the United States Federal Judiciary.
    If you do not want Allah or the Flying Spaghetti Monster calling the shots, Keep God out of it.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Dec. 30, 2013 12:23 p.m.

    Re: ". . . unfair and unnecessary overreach that can only serve to further exacerbate political tensions in Utah . . . ."

    Yeah, that's what callow, doctrinaire liberals want -- political tension.

    And, Shelby knew he could create it and keep it going, regardless of the rulings of courts above him, by deciding as he did, both factually and procedurally.

    And, of course, we ain't seen nothing, yet. Once the Supreme Court reverses, properly citing the
    "political question doctrine," and all the overanxious, unwise LGBT couples begin to wave their void marriage certificates, bleating about how Utah destroys marriages, it'll be us, real Utahns, that they'll be blaming, not the ethics-challenged, agenda-driven "judge" who is the real culprit.

    Of course, we know that was the plan all along.

    Liberals. So predictable.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 30, 2013 11:59 a.m.

    IMO Judges should be limited to striking down laws they find unconstitutional. But they should not be enacting their own laws at the same time (THAT is reserved for the Legislature and the people).

    So the judge should have struck down the amendment, but in this case they over-reached and actually enacted NEW laws.

    Same sex marriages were not happening in Utah before the amendment.... so where did the law come from that all counties must issue licenses immediately (from the bench).

    That's NOT the role of the Judicial Branch. They can nullify a law... but they should not CREATE new laws at the same time. We were not conducting same sex marriages before the amendment, so when it was struck down we should have reverted to where we were BEFORE the amendment (not with a whole new batch of laws some Denver judge placed on the people of Utah).

    ----

    I think the writing is on the wall that no restrictions on the nature of the marriage relationship can be allowed (same sex, more than one, close relative, etc). But at least do it correctly (not with judges making new laws when striking ones they don't like).

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Dec. 30, 2013 11:56 a.m.

    Does the Constitution protect a man's "right" to claim that he is a woman when all medical evidence collected by doctors who examined him show that his gender is clearly evident and that he does not have the physical characteristics of a woman?

    Does the 14th Amendment allow a citizen to demand special right based on "feelings" when those demands contradict all physical evidence?

    I'm not being factious. If rights are based on "feelings" when physical evidence contradicts those "feelings", what are the limits? What protects society against citizens who "feel" that they can redefine marriage, that they can redefine family, that they can freely teach children that "feelings", not physical characteristics, determine gender? What protects children from being told that because they admire a Coach or a Scoutmaster, that they are exhibiting their homosexual side? Who's going to protect children who are called homophobic when those children "feel" that homosexuality is wrong?

    We are not identified by what we "feel" we are. Equal protection does not give anyone the right to claim that he is not who he appears to be because, in his mind, he does not want the body that his Creator gave him.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Dec. 30, 2013 11:37 a.m.

    I respectfully disagree with Rep. Powell. The notion that a judge has "two jobs" is not true. Any case a judge decides automatically becomes a precedent with constitutional implications. Mr. & Mrs. Loving were sentenced in 1958 by a Virginia JP to 1 year in jail for having a mixed marriage. The JP's decision obviously had constitutional implications. And when the federal court reversed it, nobody "stayed" the right of people to a mixed marriage. The effect was immediate.

  • digbythefox Logan, UT
    Dec. 30, 2013 11:29 a.m.

    Seems like most of the comments here agree so far, and I'm with them. I've read through the 53-page decision, and it's a very thoughtful look at the current laws. Throughout, Utah fails to bring any compelling argument for keeping the law, but the other side is compelling for why the law harms one group. Anyone who has the time should read through the decision; you can find it through Google.

    Unfortunately, the writer of this article seems to know very little about the history of gay marriage in the US. Shelby acted much like other judges before him, and many repeatedly refused a stay. Shelby is not acting without precedence.

    My partner and I have considered rushing and getting married. We've been together for almost three years now, but it's something we'd rather plan out. I'm excited that we can do it now. Hopefully in a few months we'll still have this right.

  • Jeffsfla Glendale, CA
    Dec. 30, 2013 11:18 a.m.

    Sorry I cannot agree with you. Judge Shelby was asked to rule using established constitutional writings. He can't make new laws...all he can do is make sure that laws established, either by executive or legislative branches and yes including voter passed legislation stand up to consitutional scrutiny. None of these groups get a pass on judicial review, particularly the voter passed initiatives. We are not a MOB rule society and our minorities deserve the protection of the judiciary branch.

    Finally, Judge Shelby has determined gays and lesbians have waited 10 years to reach this point in Utah. To further wait would mean there would have to be compelling proof the law will standup up to Appellate scrutiny. Clearly he does not believe it will and the Appellate court seems to agree with him. That is why they refused the stay.

    I think it is time to put away you animus and realize these citizens deserve the same rights as you have always had.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Dec. 30, 2013 11:15 a.m.

    I'm not sure I buy into the argument that the judge was obligated to see this case through a political as well as legal lens. This judge was not, as is often pointed out in these discussions, elected. The realm of a federal judge is one of laws, not politics, and this was a pretty straight up or down case. Maybe it appears odd that the judge didn't leave it in administrative limbo; on the other hand it's refreshing to see it encounter a fairly cut and dried situation and deal with it directly and forthwith, rather than miring it in obfuscation only to arrive at the same conclusion.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 30, 2013 10:57 a.m.

    You say it's an action by one judge to not issue a stay, but hasn't Utah been rejected 3+ times in trying to get a stay, by various levels of courts?

    Plus, who are we kidding here? Tensions would've also grown with a stay or a ruling against same-sex marriage. It'd just have been the other side that'd have been annoyed rather than the side annoyed with the ruling and lack of stay.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Dec. 30, 2013 10:53 a.m.

    He ruled on the stupied "All-or-Nothing" law you guys in the State Legislature gave hime.

    All he had was a simple Thumbs up, Thumbs down vote.

    Tell you what --
    You are a State legislator,
    Rather than writing political opinion letters to the Deseret News whinning about it,
    You are one of the very few people in this State that can actually DO something.

    But,
    I suppose as a "politicain" it's easier and looks better to make a public statement,
    than it is to actully DO anything.