Jewish Journal

Gay marriage in Utah? Say it ain’t so

by Mark Paredes

December 20, 2013 | 10:59 pm

The Church has been consistent in its support of traditional marriage while teaching that all people should be treated with respect ... We continue to believe that voters in Utah did the right thing by providing clear direction in the state constitution that marriage should be between a man and a woman and we are hopeful that this view will be validated by a higher court. – Official statement issued by Mormon Church leaders following today’s ruling on gay marriage in Utah 


If you doubt that the Second Coming (or First, if you prefer) is nigh, today’s images from the county building in Salt Lake City might convince you otherwise. After this morning’s ruling by a federal judge that struck down an amendment to the Utah Constitution that defines marriage as exclusively male/female, dozens of same-sex couples rushed to the building to obtain marriage licenses. Not all of the couples were successful in doing so, but all were incredulous. Many people thought that Utah would be among the last states to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, and it was a little shocking to see things move so quickly on the marriage front there.  

Since Utah is not a theocracy (only 3 out of 5 Utahns are Mormons), this ruling was to be expected. As I have repeatedly stated before, I am personally opposed to gay marriage for religious reasons. However, I do not believe that a convincing secular argument can be made to ban gay marriage in contemporary American society. If I had been in Judge Robert Shelby’s shoes, I may well have issued a similar ruling. If gay marriage can happen in Utah, it can happen in any jurisdiction. The state of Utah has already asked for the federal appeals court to issue a stay on the decision.

If I were them, I wouldn’t hold my breath. Judging from recent Supreme Court and other federal court rulings on the issue, it’s probably only a matter of time before gay marriages will be official in every state. I don’t view this as a positive development, but that doesn’t make gay marriage any less inevitable in this country.

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Mark Paredes is the leader of a large Mormon congregation in Los Angeles. He has worked for the ZOA, the American Jewish Congress, and the Consulate General of Israel in Los...

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