In a 2-1 decision exactly one year after the Supreme Court delivered two major victories to gay rights advocates, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit ruled that Utah’s constitutional amendment prohibiting same sex marriage could not stand.
The victory is the latest in a string of court decisions striking down bans in states throughout the country. Virginia is one of those states where such a ban has been ruled unconstitutional.
Polls also show an increasing public acceptance of gay marriage and a growing feeling among proponents that nationwide acceptance of gay marriage is inevitable.
Said the Appeals Court:
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 marital laws. 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.
Ironically, those still opposed to gay marriages include hardcore “constitutionalists” who demand that government pay more attention to the U.S. Constitution. However, when a court rules that the Constitution allows something they don’t like, they cry foul.
The court decision, however, does not mean gay couples can head to the alters in Utah. Not yet. A stay issued over a federal judge in Salt Lake City overturned the state’s ban last year remains in place to give the state time to consider its next step.
In Virginia, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, is reviewing an earlier decision that struck down the gay marriage ban in the Commonwealth.
Which means such cases may eventually end up back in the Supreme Court.