Yes, that Utah

I believe in miracles...
I often times start posts and save them as drafts. It may take a me awhile to get back to my post. In this case I have no idea what I was about to write. I had simply written 'I believe in miracles'. I don't remember writing it and it doesn't seem like something I would write.

Maybe I was being prophetic because what happened in Utah on Friday with 'Gay Marriage' was nothing short of a miracle. I'll be watching with interest as this case proceeds.

I'm sure there will be strong opposition from the state. There will be arguments that the states have jurisdiction over marriage; therefore, state's rights are being violated. It is true; states do have jurisdiction over marriage and it is left to the states to define marriage I'm actually trying to understand this myself. 

My limited knowledge of law and order is that there are 'states rights' and this is part of what makes "our country great", (notice the air quotes), the power of the state, in defining marriage, over rule the power of the federal government. So what is going on here?

Rachel Maddow and her guest, New York University law professor Kenji Yoshino, explain it here; they mention the 'nuclear option' which means that when state law and federal law clash state law wins. They also refer to the 'Windsor case'. How does all this help us; us meaning 'We the Gay People' and our allies?

It is still difficult for me to wrap my head around the technicalities of this situation. Apparently the Utah case is different; in that it was a federal judge who ruled the Utah state amendment defining marriage as unconstitutional. 

Judge Robert Shelby says the following:
"The state’s current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason," the judge wrote. "Accordingly, the court finds that these laws are unconstitutional."

"The court agrees with Utah that regulation of marriage has traditionally been the province of the states, and remains so today. But any regulation adopted by a state, whether related to marriage or any other interest, must comply with the Constitution of the United States,".

There's the kicker. A state cannot adopt any law that violates the US Constitution. The 14th amendment, particularly the first section, of the US Constitution, the most litigated section of the constitution, states:

14th Amendment Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

A more interesting thing is that 33 other states have a similar amendment in their state constitution. Does this mean that once Utah repeals Judge Shelby's ruling, (and I bare testimony that they will), the case will go to the supreme court and once a ruling is determined by the Supreme Court it will set a precedence for all? I hope this is what it means because this will mean a landslide of change in this the United States of America!

Since 'human dignity' is used as a main argument in the ruling of Judge Shelby I worry that the words 'human dignity' are not used in the US Constitution. There is jurisprudence however; meaning, the Supreme Court has ruled based on the philosophy or theory of human dignity being a constitutional right.

I must say I am still a bit apprehensive about what will happen. I do know that the fight for gay marriage is moving in the right direction. It seems like a slow moving train at times but we are making progress and we will arrive. I'm cautiously optimistic.

Let's take a moment to recognize the accuracy in Justice Scalia's prediction that the precedence set by the ruling in United States vs Windsor that DOMA denies plaintiffs their rights to due process and equal protection under the law (5th amendment) would be setting a precedence for striking down similar amendments in state constitutions. Of course he said it as a bad thing; I personally think it is a great thing. Thank you Justice Scalia for pointing this out so Judge Sheldon could reference this in his ruling.

Thank you to Edith Windsor who at age 83 had the courage, the money and the gumption to fight her fight in court.

Thank you Judge Sheldon for your 53 page ruling declaring Utah's amendment, defining marriage as between a man and a woman, as unconstitutional. 

Thank you, in advance, to the state of Utah for appealing this decision and laying the ground work necessary for the Supreme Court to rule in favor of gay marriage in Utah and subsequently setting the precedence for the other 33 states who still have this type of amendment in their constitutions.

Go Utah! Who would've thunk it. :o)

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