Comments about ‘Utah attorney general to name outside counsel for same-sex marriage appeal’

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Published: Wednesday, Jan. 15 2014 5:05 p.m. MST

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Sedona, AZ

@Hutterite and @Marxist - Sutherland funding outside counsel shouldn't be an issue in terms of ethical representation. Whichever law firm is selected, their duty, loyalty, and confidentiality is to the State (and citizens) of Utah and its interests, no matter who pays the bill. What will really be the interesting issue here is how it will work between Mero speaking of "the right counsel and the right strategy" (which would understandably be a concern and a priority if your organization is willing to pay all legal fees) with the fact that there may be a public bidding process which has to be followed. I am eager to see who wins the draw, but I pity the attorneys. January 27th is an insanely short amount of time to put together a submission to the court.

This is always an intricate topic for me. I am LDS and, at one point, I was a progressive civil rights attorney in liberal New Jersey. For years now, one hemisphere of my brain has been arguing against the other. It will be interesting to see how this Utah case unfolds, especially if it goes all the way up to the Supremes.

Here, UT


Even if homosexuality were a choice, it doesn't matter. The 14th Amendment applies to ALL US citizens, not just heterosexual ones.

Religious preference is 100% not biological, yet it is protected.

Choice or not, that isn't the issue. Equality under the law is the issue.

Genola, UT

If Utah is the "anti-equality state" and companies are so reluctant to come here, then why is the next article on the website describing a projected 8% expansion of airport operations by Delta? So much for that little fantasy.

Tooele, UT

As has become predictable with this issue, liberal pro-homosexual marriage advocates jumped on this article like flies on sewage... dominating the early comments. One the first page alone, a majority of the comments came from out-of-state, even though defending our state constitution is purely an in-state issue.

Something that is almost humorous is that those critics are trying to make a big deal about the amount of money used to defend this. The article stated that a worst case scenario would cost the state no more than $2M. It also stated that private contributions would likely make the cost much lower, if anything at all. So let's split the difference and use a $1M cost estimate.

Let's put it into context. The state budget for this year is approximately $13 billion. So a $1 million cost would be 1/13,000 (or 1/130th of 1%) of the state annual budget. That is literally a miniscule percentage. In fact, the rounding errors of the overall budget are higher than that.

So to make a big deal of that amount of state money is actually silly when put into comparative context.

City, Ut

Tiago said "I'm a Mormon, great family, six straight siblings, never abused, never seduced by a man, never fooled around, have tried multiple relationships with women--yet despite all of that, my fundamental orientation has been fixed and constant toward other guys. I'm not perverted or sick or dangerous. I am perfectly chaste, but I still recognize who I find charming, interesting, and attractive and it's other guys. I know many other people who have the same experience--even those who have married. "

I am wondering if you would also share, as a gay chaste celibate man, and tell us your position on SSM and why.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Thank you.

Tooele, UT

@ Owen:

I can guarantee that almost all companies considering relocating to Utah are much more concerned about their bottom line profit numbers than any political posturing on this issue.

You and other like-minded people need to keep 2 other facts in mind.
1) A majority of this country still favor traditional marriage on this issue.
2) Utah has always been a conservative state with conservative values and stances on almost all political issues. And that hasn't been much of a hindrance (and sometimes even a benefit) when it comes to whether companies will or won't relocate to Utah.

So your contention doesn't carry much weight, if any at all. It's just another example of pro-gay advocates trying to push their liberal opinions as fact. And most objective and reasonable people don't buy into such things.

Tooele, UT

@ Ranch:

If equality under the law is the only issue at stake here, then shouldn't we allow young teenagers to vote and/or to marry... since they aren't being treated equal to older people?

And if allowing everyone the right of pursuit of happiness, then shouldn't we allow people to marry their dogs if it would make them happy?

And if everyone needs to be treated equally by law in every circumstance, then why can't Caucasians compete against African Americans in the Miss Black America pageant and compete for NAACP scholarships?

And why are credit card companies allowed to charge some people higher interest rates than others, just because of credit ratings? That's certainly not treating everyone equally.

And why doesn't our government allow convicts to vote? That's another example of government inequality in how they treat people.

And why does our government allow some people to immigrate into our country and not others... just because they're felons? That's certainly not treating everyone equally.

And yet I don't see you ever commenting on any of the above mentioned inequalities or trying to get them corrected. Why is that, Ranch?

Breathe Deep
Eagle Rock, ID

@ Gail Fitches Those are excellent points and I agree with you 100%. The SSM advocates are only concerned with their own selfish interests. They don’t care how those points impacts people, business, and the society at large. They will go after bakers, photographers, pastors and anyone who opposes them until everyone will cower to their lifestyle in fear of retaliation.

Ernest T. Bass
Bountiful, UT

@Breathe Deep:
So let me get this straight (no pun intended), you say SSM advocates are selfish because they won't conduct business with people who oppose SSM? You do see the irony in this, right? The fact that LGBT have been singled out and suffered from horrible discrimination for thousands of years hasn't triggered your empathy for people being wronged, but when a few SSM advocates decide not to purchase products from those who oppose equal rights, then suddenly you feel bad for those being picked on?
That makes absolutely no sense.

truth in all its forms
henderson, NV

Waist of tax payer money? You have got to be kidding me! this is about state rights, and standing up to activist judges! There is no price to large to pay for freedom from tyranny! I am glad that Utah is standing up for the people of the great state. If I still lived in utah I would gladly pay more money to fight for this important cause.

Breathe Deep
Eagle Rock, ID

@Ernest T. Bass, Gail Fitches Wrote "If a self-employed business owner with strong religious convictions refuses to offer his services to homosexuals and he is sued and goes
bankrupt is he harmed?

Does the business owner not have rights? I know the anti-discrimination laws say NO. But now who is being discriminated against?

My question is why cant the SSM couple just go somewhere else and get that service. My answer is because they want to shove it down our throats and make us except their lifesyle. Or in other words you WILL serve us or we will sue you, organize a boycot against you and run you out of business.

West Richland, WA

"One the first page alone, a majority of the comments came from out-of-state, even though defending our state constitution is purely an in-state issue."

If defending your state constitution is strictly "an in-state issue", then why has the state obtained counsel from a non-Utah law firm to continue its push for legal discrimination?

"A majority of this country still favor traditional marriage on this issue."

This is patently incorrect. A simply Google inquiry will show that the majority of Americans approve of marriage equality dating back to the Gallup polls in 2011.

"If equality under the law is the only issue at stake here, then shouldn't we allow young teenagers to vote and/or to marry"

This logical fallacy is an example of a False Equivalency: teenagers are minors, not adults. They lack recognized legal capacity to consent to a contract.

"And if allowing everyone the right of pursuit of happiness, then shouldn't we allow people to marry their dogs if it would make them happy?"

Sorry, but that is another example of a False Equivalency fallacy. Dogs, animals, inanimate objects, etc all lack recognized legal capacity to consent to a contract.


"Physician, heal thyself!"

I don't quite understand this. Why do attorneys sometimes need attorneys? (In other words, what happened to the word "attorney" from the term "ATTORNEY general"?)

In this case, is it all just because of this (from the last paragraph): "When you're looking at a Supreme Court case, you really have to have somebody who understands the 10th Circuit Court system but also the Supreme Court system. It's an unusual qualification that you're looking for"? The state's own attorney really isn't versed enough in *that kind of stuff* to just be the state's counsel himself?


Houston, TX

@Tiago - If it isn't inborn genetically, how do we know that SSM is immutable? It would take a miracle, but miracles do occur.

I appreciate your determination to obey the commandments in face of a lifetime of sacrifice. I know the Lord is proud of you, and you deserve our admiration.

Los Angeles, CA

Those posting here are obviously not Citizens in the State of Utah or are in the minority. The State has an obligation to fight to protect the rights of those that voted for this, win or lose. And obviously, if you read the article it appears that tax payers are not going to foot the bill.

Silver Spring, MD

@gmlewis "The SSA activists want to crystalize their concept that people are born heterosexual or homosexual."

With respect, I am gay, married to my very longterm partner, but I have never, ever claimed that I know what determines sexual orientation.

I can, however, state categorically that I did not choose to be gay. I was there. The whole time. I spent decades of my life in an often desperate effort to change my sexual orientation. That effort included heartfelt prayer and counseling. I was, just for the record, celibate-- indeed, a "virgin", the entire time.

Sexual orientation isn't a "habit." I did not so much as hold another man's hand until I was 30.

I knew I was gay by the time I was 12.

That doesn't mean its origin is genetic. It does mean that, despite conscious effort, sexual orientation is pretty well fixed for me and, it appears, for most people, by the time they are sexually aware. Not sure how one could argue otherwise. Again, I was "there" the entire time.


Sedona, AZ

@pleblian - I'm sure that the AG's office has great talent. They may have been directed by the Governor to bring in outside counsel as an extra set of eyes and hands. As it is, an additional law firm could probably work around the clock for a good many months on research, writing, strategy, and formulating the oral arguments. If the AG's office were to do that, no other work would be accomplished, including criminal prosecutions. Also, on something this important, you want experts on the procedural nuances and the routine of appealing both for the 10th Circuit and for the U.S. Supreme Court. A lot of attorneys that practice at the federal appellate level do so as their sole practice area. The procedural rules and details are so specific, to screw up one little thing can get your case thrown out. You need experts who already know it like the back of their hands and already have the resources, rather than a very talented attorney on your staff, who has done it once before (or a state appeal, but not federal - or maybe this is their first), but has to look everything up.

Houston, TX

@Linguist - Peace in return. I spoke concerning SSA activists. This is a relatively small group.

I clarified in a subsequent comment that I'm not saying that SSA resulted from a single, conscious choice. I'm merely suggesting that there could be other factors involved rather than genetics. If so, then SSA may not be immutable. Of course, not knowing the cause leaves us bereft of understanding how SSA could be modified.

Stephen Daedalus
Arvada, CO

@Breathe Deep wrote: "They will go after bakers..." (and in later post) "Gail Fitches Wrote 'If a self-employed business owner with strong religious convictions refuses to offer his services to homosexuals and he is sued and goes bankrupt is he harmed?'...Does the business owner not have rights?...[N]ow who is being discriminated against?"

U.S. Supreme Court answers:

"When followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity." United States v Lee, (1982) "We have never held that an individual's religious beliefs excuse him from compliance with an otherwise valid law prohibiting conduct that the State is free to regulate." Employ. Div v Smith(1990)

As discussed on other threads, the facts of the Colorado "baker" case are consistently misrepresented (see Tony Perkins/FRC, Doug Robinson column) to cynically whip up anti-SSM fears. These profane manipulations arise from and appeal to the darker aspects of our humanity, but likely won't persuade the 10th Circuit.

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