Upholding a federal judge's decision legalizing gay marriage in Utah would make moms and dads irrelevant to children, Utah attorneys claim in a new court filing.

On December 20, 2013, U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby struck down Amendment 3, the state's 2004 voter-approved constitutional amendment limiting marriage to heterosexual couples. For the next 17 days before the Supreme Court granted a stay in the ruling, Utah was the 18th state to legalize same-sex marriage.

Affirming Shelby's ruling would “impose – by judicial fiat rather than democratic processes – the novel principle that marriage is whatever emotional bond any two (or more) people say it is,” Utah attorneys wrote.

“It would thereby enshrine in federal law the corrosive principle that moms and dads are interchangeable and, ultimately, irrelevant to children.”

Additionally, the brief states, such a ruling would harm those who oppose marriage equality.

“It would also unfairly dismiss the majorities in more than half of the States – and numerous judges – as irrational bigots.”

The state also argues in its 108-page filing that affirming of Shelby's decision would be “an unprincipled judicial wrecking ball hurling toward an even more important arena of traditional state authority.”

“[T]he fact that different States have thus far chosen different paths is not a sign of political weakness; it is a sign of a healthy and diverse national republic. If affirmed by this Court, however, the district court's decision would terminate within this Circuit that State-by-State experimentation and all the democratic participation and debate that go with it. As to the subject of marriage, it would bring active liberty to a screeching halt, replacing it with a homogenized, one-size-fits-all federal solution. An affirmance would thereby destroy any opportunity for the kind of democratic compromise and accommodation that could otherwise ultimately produce, in each State, a peaceful and relatively harmonious resolution of what is now, in many places, a highly contentious issue.”