Saturday, January 11, 2014
"It is outrageous that the Justice Department would move so brazenly and publicly to undermine Utah's standing constitutional provision regulating marriage as the union of one man and one woman. It is the right of states to determine marriage, and the voters and legislature of Utah have done just that. Their right to do so is encoded in the U.S. Constitution, and was explicitly upheld by the Supreme Court this summer in the Windsor decision. But with this move, the Department of Justice under this Administration signals that it simply has no regard for the Constitution and the rule of law. On Wednesday, the State of Utah had issued its own determination that it would not recognize the same-sex marriages which had taken place there between the decision by a federal judge to strike down Utah's marriage amendment and the Supreme Court's order to stay that decision. The Governor of Utah announced this in a letter from his Chief of Staff to cabinet officials which explained that "state recognition of same-sex marital status is ON HOLD until further notice." The Justice Department's edict today expressly contradicts the determination of Utah's Governor and Attorney General, and represents one of the most significant overreaches of federal authority imaginable. Furthermore, Attorney General Eric Holder is now doing the very thing that the Supreme Court in Windsor v. United States held the federal government could not do - use a definition of marriage for federal law purposes that did not respect the policy choices made by the individual states. This determination should be reversed if the State of Utah's sovereignty-or really any state's-is to be upheld and respected."