Comments about ‘Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb: Examining the repercussions of Judge Shelby's decision’

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Published: Sunday, Jan. 5 2014 12:00 a.m. MST

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American Fork, UT

Rights and freedoms were strengthened; a number of people made a commitment to marriage who were previously denied. Furniture, mattresses, and electronics are on sale. Things appear to have gotten better.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Many like to talk about the arrogance of Judge Shelby in not issuing a stay - but anyone who has studied law knows or should know that judges cannot rule on motions that are not before them. Following proper legal rules and procedures, Judge Shelby could not issue a stay where there was no request for one.

The true arrogance on the stay issue lies with the State of Utah and the AG's office. It was their duty to acknowledge the possibility of a decision against them and request a stay should that happen. Usually when a law is challenged, especially one that affects so many people, a stay request is filed either as a part of the request for summary judgement or shortly after the summary judgement hearing.

You can blame the failure of the AG's office on the distractions surrounding the Swallow debacle or inexperience in the AG's office or just plain arrogance in ignoring the possibility of a loss, but it is sophomoric to blame Judge Shelby for not doing the AG's job.

Salt Lake City, UT

We have been seeing quite an uptick of OP pieces from the Deseret news about the 'consequences' of marriage equality.

Why no studies?

Because, we have factual examples of the repercussions of marriage equality in America. Many just choose not to acknowledge them:

*'After 5 Years of Legal Gay Marriage, Massachusetts still has the lowest state divorce rate...' - Bruce Wilson - AlterNet - 08/24/09

'Massachusetts retains the national title as the lowest divorce rate state, and the MA divorce rate is about where the US divorce rate was in 1940, prior to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.'

Ok. Ten years…

*'TEN YEARS later, 85 Percent of Massachusetts voters say NO HARM from Marriage Equality' – 09/27/13

'Massachusetts now has the lowest divorce rate in the nation, same-sex families now enjoy full legal protections…'

There has never been a factual consequence to marriage equality. It does zero harm to the 'traditional' marriage in Utah starting after 1890.

We all know what Jesus said about 'False Witness'.

Eugene, OR

That's some fine whining you've got going there. How dare gay people actually be able to express joy about something...

Bountiful, UT

What I saw wasn't an endzone dance, but genuine jubilation from couples at the prospect that their relationships are - even if for a short period of time - considered "equal", at least in the eyes of the law.

The morning TV news shows showing the people lined up for their certificates looked like a bunch of adults who were giddy like 4 year olds on Christmas morning. For many couples - and their loved ones who were allowed to know about their beaming change in status - the Christmas of 2013 will always be known as a "Christmas Miracle".

Of course there will be a reverberation - we see it here every day. The only question is how long it will take for the hearts of those opposed to be softened, and recognition of true equality to appear.

Centerville, UT

I don't think the Attorney General's office forgot to ask for a stay. This was a conscious decision, not an oversight. I think they believed asking for a stay in their initial papers would signal a lack of confidence in their arguments and thus make it easier for Judge Shelby to rule against them. It was a high stakes strategic decision, I believe, not an error.

spring street

As someone that is old enough and engaged enough to remember the end of apartheid I have very found and distinct memories of Nelson dancing with great joy across a stage in front of a massive crowd of people when it ended. Please do not try to deny those joyous memories for the sack of trying to chastise gay couples for the joy in the hearts when they got married.


As one of those "leftiest" that were there to witness James and his partner get married I can honestly say I was focused on the great joy they expressed for one another and I am pretty sure the religious right and those that oppose gay marriage were not really in their minds one way or the other but please feel free to continue to think it is all about you.

St George, Utah

We should ... "not rush to change long-standing pillars of society without understanding the long-term consequences." What responsibility does a judge have to act as sociologist, psychologist, economist and political scientist in reaching a decision ?? Perhaps I am naive, but I would rather a judge look at the facts of a case and reasonably apply law, precedence and rules of procedure in making a decision. If there are negative long-term consequences of a decision then the law makers need to address them.

E Sam
Provo, UT

As others have noted, the state did not request a stay. As for Judge Shelby's supposed arrogance in deciding this issue, he merely dealt with the issue before him; should these specific plaintiffs be allowed to marry. Based on the evidence presented, it's difficult to see how he could have ruled otherwise.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

Not repercussions really, more like the result of political court packing strategies long underway, but Judge Shelby’s decision will unfortunately further entrench the culture war into our court system.

I applaud his decision on moral grounds but am saddened that this issue will apparently be decided by an activist court system rather than by changing the hearts & minds of citizens – something that was well underway and at a rate few foresaw even 10 years ago.

In a few short years this issue would have been moot. Instead it may become the new Roe v Wade – a political football kicked around for decades to come and further dividing the nation.

When SCOTUS overturns Roe and rules that abortion is a State issue (something highly likely given their current makeup), don’t be surprised when a conservative state or federal judge issues a similarly sweeping ruling that life begins at conception and that a fertilized egg invisible to the naked eye is granted full person rights.

Judicial activism is an equal opportunity offender…

Mission Viejo, CA

My dear cousin seems to think it's the duty of the court to do the AG's job for them. That is not the case. It's time to face the facts, marriage equality is coming and fighting it is a waste of time, energy, and good will.

Somewhere, IL

The column is self serving and self righteous why do those who are opposed to marriage equality think it is all about them?

Salt Lake City, UT

Tyler: "When SCOTUS overturns Roe and rules that abortion is a State issue..."

Sorry, but we're not talking about setting speed limits or the legal drinking age here - we're talking about fundamental civil rights of American citizens. Basic personal rights, including the right to marry, will never be held to be "state" issues.

Or do you really think that a state could decide on its own to deny marriage rights to people of different races, or deny women the vote? That's every bit as unlikely to happen as a decision to permit states to deny marriage rights to same-sex couples.

slc, UT

I was one of those at the county building that showed much joy when in what in Utah was rare moment of acknowledgment of the basic humanity of a segment of our society who in the in the past 100 years have been subjected to forced shock therapy, forced lobotomies, forced castration, incarceration and forced hospitalization in the United States and rounded up by the thousands and killed by the Germans so please do accept my apologies for my excitement, we shadows do not mean to offend.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@Blue – “Or do you really think that a state could decide on its own to deny marriage rights to people of different races, or deny women the vote?”

I think you misunderstood my comments…

Conservatives have been engaged in a campaign of loading our courts with people who first & foremost believe in an extremely conservative interpretation of the Constitution. They view this is a proper reaction to the perceived excesses of (starting with) the Warren Court.

We now have a SC (and many lower court judges) who reflect this strategy, and it’s how they will decide this issue that matters (not my opinion).

So my comments were not about me but about how the culture war has infiltrated our courts and what the ramifications of this will likely be – and if you think conservatives will find a right for same-sex couple to marry in the Constitution (even in the 14th amendment), I have a few real estate deals I’d like to pitch you.

But I assume we both hope I will be proven wrong…

Henry Drummond
San Jose, CA

I think Frank and LaVarr would be the perfect duo to unravel the mystery of Judge Shelby's failure to stay his own ruling. There seem to be two versions:

1. The National View
National news stories insist the problem was that Utah's lawyers neglected to file a contingency petition for a stay with the Judge. They also claim when Shelby had a conference call with both sides before announcing his ruling, Utah's lawyers failed to request consideration of a stay before it was docketed. It was only after marriage licenses were being issued Utah first asked for a stay and then they wanted the judge to do it unilaterally without a hearing.

2. The Utah View
Frankly nobody seems to want to address whether procedural issues were botched by Utah's attorneys or not. They insist proper procedure was for the Judge to issue one, even if he wasn't asked.

I think everyone, especially the people of the State of Utah, would like to know what really happened.

San Diego, CA

Utah hasn't been around for a thousand years. The USA hasn't been around for a thousand years. Honestly, people like the two whining in this editorial act like marriage for heteros will now suddenly disappear. My wife and I will have been married 25 years in March. I don't expect SSM will suddenly dissolve that.

Scottsdale, AZ

Webb: "All this lone, low-level federal judge did was to reject a thousand years of tradition."

I thought the tradition in Utah until 1890 was to permit plural marriage.

Joe Carlin

I am happy to report that in the weeks since my husband and I were married, not a single traditional marriage has been destroyed. Like as has happen in so many states, chicken littles will cry that the sky is falling, and then no one will believe them after it never actually does. Life will continue to go on in the great state of Utah, just as it has in Iowa or Washington or New Hampshire or Maryland or Minnesota, and no one will be any the wiser, except those who have no idea how to keep their noses outside of the private affairs of others.

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