Utah’s AG Speaks at Rally in Favor of Marriage Ban
SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes says his defense of Utah’s same-sex marriage ban in a federal appeals court is not motivated by hate.
Reyes said Friday his office is defending Utah’s right to define marriage as residents decide. The ban was passed by 66 percent of voters in 2004.
Reyes spoke during a rally at the Capitol attended by about 100 supporters of Utah’s same-sex marriage ban.
They gathered to thank Reyes and stand up for what they called traditional marriage a day after a federal appeals court heard arguments about the constitutionality of the law.
Attorney generals in seven states have declined to defend same-sex marriage bans.
Speakers in Utah said marriages between a man and a woman are the only unions that ensure children are raised properly.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
Supporters of Utah’s same-sex marriage ban are gathering Friday at the state Capitol to stand up for "traditional marriage" a day after a federal appeals court heard arguments about the constitutionality of the law.
Organizers are urging people to spread the message that marriages between a man and a woman are the only unions that ensure children are raised properly.
"There is only one way to create and properly nurture children," the group says in an email promoting the event, "and that is with a mother and a father."
The coalition is also reminding people that just last weekend a leader in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reiterated the church’s opposition to gay marriage, calling on church members not to buckle under the pressure of a growing movement on social media and elsewhere by advocates who want to make gay marriage legal.
"While many governments and well-meaning individuals have redefined marriage, the Lord has not," said Neil L. Andersen, of the Quorum of the Twelve, on Saturday during the biannual general conference in Salt Lake City.
During a hearing Thursday in Denver, three judges of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals appeared divided about whether to uphold a ruling by a federal judge that overturned Utah’s gay marriage ban. A ruling is expected in the coming months.
The 10th Circuit has a hearing on Oklahoma’s ban next week. There are nine gay marriage cases pending in federal appeals courts around the country, but none have ruled yet.
After the U.S. Supreme Court last year ruled that a law forbidding the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages was unconstitutional, eight federal judges have struck down state bans on gay marriage or on the recognition of same-sex marriages from other states.
The climate has significantly changed since 2004, when several states including Oklahoma and Utah, passed the bans. Polls show a majority of Americans back same-sex unions today.
The coalition of supporters plans to use Friday’s event to thank Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes and other state officials for defending the ban. Utah is spending up to $300,000 to have a team of three outside attorneys defend the law in appeals court.
Utah’s attorney argued Thursday that the Supreme Court left the definition of marriage to states, and that the lower court judges have erred. The state has argued that the ban should be upheld because traditional marriage is the optimal environment for raising children. But under questioning Thursday, Gene Schaerr, who represented Utah, acknowledged the ban harms children of same-sex couples and that the state has no scientific evidence showing gays are worse parents than heterosexuals.