By: Skyler Pyle
Hundreds gathered at City Creek Park in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah, to celebrate the largest of many victories in the LGBT civil rights movement and a landmark decision for equal rights and equal protection for residents in the state of Utah.
With tears of joy streaming down their faces, many embraced each other with excitement over the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decision on Wednesday striking down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage, ruling it unconstitutional.
“We hold that the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right to marry, establish a family, raise children and enjoy the full protection of a state’s martial law,” stated in the majority holding on the courts website. “A state may not deny the issuance of a marriage license to two persons, or refuse to recognize their marriage, based solely upon the sex of the persons in the marriage union.”
Although the ruling brings much-anticipated celebration, many know the fight is far from over. A 90-day stay has been issued on the ruling pending an appeal to the Supreme Court. Utah’s Attorney General’s Office has issued a statement that they are in the process of filing a Petition for Writ of Certiorari.
“In my view, the U.S. Constitution does not dictate a particular definition of marriage, so I believe such judgments are properly left to the citizens of each State,” said Senator Orrin Hatch in a statement issued on his website. “I disagree with the court’s reasoning and hope the Supreme Court ultimately adheres to the original understanding of the Constitution and allows each state to define marriage for itself.”
Mare Lawrence, director of Restore Our Humanity said he believes Governor Herbert and Attorney General Sean Reyes are pandering to a small group of fanatics who are struggling to hold on.
“They (Utah) know they’re going to lose, they absolutely know they cannot win,” Lawrence said. “Twenty-two judges now have seen the same thing, so I can’t understand it. They need to do the right thing and make this better for everyone.”
Petitioners in Kitchen v. Herbert, Derek Kitchen, Moudi Sbeity, Karen Archer, Kate Call, Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge stood together in unity on the City Creek bridge looking over the hundreds that came to celebrate their victory.
“I am overjoyed and so humbled and I couldn’t be happier,” Call said. “I think all Utah citizens will, little by little, as people come out, recognize that we are as fully human as they are and they will grace us with love and joy, because that is the way Utah people are, and all they need to do is meet us.”
Peggy A. Tomsic, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, said she feels this decision will change Utah forever, because the LGBT community believes that the federal government is supportive and that they will make the way for their future, that Utah is headed for unity in seeing this become reality and it will change the way they treat people.
“This is what if feel like to be the one who gets to lead the march to bring equality to people who have never been shown any respect,” Tomsic said. “This is the most incredible feeling in the world.”
Restore Our Humanity has a rally scheduled for June 27, at 6 p.m. at the Capitol building and is asking everyone to come and support in their efforts to ask governor Gary Herbert to LET IT STAND!