The battle over whether gay couples have the right to marry continues, as Senator Jim Dabakis (D-SLC) blasted Governor Herbert (R) and embattled Attorney General John Swallow (R) this morning for claiming Utah’s gay marriage ban doesn’t discriminate against gays.
A court case is currently underway in Utah to overturn Amendment 3, the ban on gay marriages which received 66 percent approval from Utah voters in 2004. The case is being brought by three same-sex Utah couples who were married in other states where it was legal, but then moved to Utah where the marriages are not recognized.
Governor Herbert and Attorney General John Swallow have described the case thusly:
Utah law, however, does not “impair any contract or other rights, benefits, or duties that are enforceable” independently of being married. […]
Utah law prevents neither homosexuals nor lesbians from marrying. Homosexuals and lesbians may marry in Utah, but they face the same restriction heterosexuals do – they may not marry a person of the same sex. This restriction is not gender based – it applies equally to both males and females.
Senator Jim Dabakis, currently the only openly-gay member of the Utah Legislature and also the chair of the Utah Democratic Party, sent out a press release this morning blasting those comments.
This is clearly a tortured position for our highest elected officials to carry. There may be disagreements on gay marriage. But it is disingenuous for the Attorney General and the Governor to say Utah’s marriage ban does not discriminate. Of course it does. Our elected officials should have the guts to say the truth. That is, the marriage ban discriminates and they favor that discrimination.
The Governor and Attorney General are also under fire from leaders at the Utah Pride Center, who took offense at their assertion that they could not confirm or deny any discrimination taking place in Utah, and that they were unaware of any LGBT citizens being the targets of a hate crime.
Valerie Larabee, Executive Director of the Utah Pride Center, responded via the Salt Lake Tribune: “This response could be characterized as shockingly incompetent, especially for them not to know about Utah’s laws since they have the responsibility to execute and enforce these laws.”