In arguments Wednesday in a federal
case challenging Utah's ban on gay marriage, the state argued that
the ban nurtures a culture of “responsible procreation.”
Plaintiffs in the case are three gay
couples who are asking a federal judge to declare invalid Amendment
3, the state's 2004 constitutional amendment limiting marriage to
The AP reported that about 100 people
packed the Salt Lake City courtroom where the nearly 4-hour hearing
U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby
said that he hopes to hand down a decision in the case early next
Attorneys representing the state told
Shelby that Utah is acting rationally to foster a culture of
“responsible procreation.” They also argued that the law creates
the “optimal mode of child-rearing.”
Stanford Purser of the Utah Attorney
General's Office objected to plaintiffs' claims that the law is based
on animus toward gay people.
“There is nothing unusual about what
Utah is doing here,” he told Shelby. “That's the nature of
legislation: You draw lines and make designations.”
“How is it by excluding same-sex
couples from marrying you're increasing procreation?” Shelby asked.
Purser replied that the effects of
allowing gay couples to marry remain unknown.
Nearly a decade before voters approved
Amendment 3, Utah lawmakers approved the nation's first law
prohibiting a state from recognizing the legal marriages of gay
couples. Utah is also home to The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints, the Mormons, which played a prominent role in
passage of Proposition 8, California's now-defunct marriage ban.
The case was filed after the Supreme
Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which led to
federal recognition of the marriages of gay couples.