“Utah’s political system, dominated as it is by one political party and one way of thinking, has made it far too easy to ignore the constitutional protections afforded to minority citizens, in this case, gay and lesbian Utahns. Marriage is undoubtedly a constitutional right. Our brief makes the important point that the exclusion of that right was made possible by a fundamental lack of balance and accountability in Utah’s legislature.
“In fact, since the 1970s, when Utah enacted its first law against same-sex marriage, the state has consistently insulated itself from the views of gay and lesbian Utahns who these laws unfairly punish. The effect of the state’s political insulation was on blatant display when, in 1995, the Legislature passed a law banning same-sex marriage despite claims by its General Counsel that marriage was a fundamental constitutional right. The state’s political insularity was perhaps at its most egregious when the Legislature bypassed the bipartisan Constitutional Revision Committee as it rushed Amendment 3 through the Legislature.
“For too long, the state’s insulated majority has been able to restrict the rights of Utah’s minority citizens. Our Constitution is designed to prevent that from happening. Judge Shelby’s ruling that Amendment 3 is unconstitutional, nearly two decades after the Legislature’s general counsel all but conceded as much, is an important correction for ensuring that Utah’s political process becomes more balanced and accountable. His ruling should stand.”
For a full explanation of why we filed the brief, see this previous statement: http://betterutah.org/2014/02/13/better-utah-file-amicus-brief-amendment-3-appeal/
The full brief can be accessed here: http://betterutah.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Amicus-Brief-with-Addendum.pdf