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Utah Republicans Vote in Favor of Same-Sex Marriage

Republicans in Utah Suprise the Senate by Publicly Supporting Same-Sex Marriage

All four of Utah’s congress members made headlines by voting in favor of the Respect for Marriage Act on Tuesday, July 19. This is the same state that ranked last among all states in support of same-sex marriage as per a poll conducted in 2010 by Columbia University.

It was so surprising that Troy Williams, the executive director of Equality Utah, tweeted his gratefulness. “I just landed in Minneapolis to the stunning news that our entire Utah delegation voted to protect same-sex and interracial marriage. I’m in tears. Thank you,” he said.

Equality Utah is the state’s primary LGBTQ+ civil rights and advocacy organization. Their work has been instrumental in combating prejudice in one of the United States’ most religious and socially conservative states. Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, stated that the majority opinion of the United States Supreme Court was not to undo any decisions concerning the right to marriage in the Constitution. He added that he understood how important it was for Utahns to codify same-sex marriage.

Pride graphic
Pride Graphic © Vecteezy

Same-sex marriage in Utah has been legal since October 6, 2014. This was the aftermath of Kitchen v. Herbert, which found the state’s ban on gay marriage unconstitutional in December 2013. It was ordered that the state should cease enforcing the ban immediately.

This didn’t deter conservative groups within the state from protesting against the ruling, given its highly religious traditions. Back in 1977, Utah State Legislature banned same-sex marriage in the state. However, support for LGBT rights in Utah has been increasing since it was legalized.

This happened because three same-sex couples had filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah seeking to declare its prohibition on the recognition of gay marriages as unconstitutional.

Gay Marriage © Getty Images
Same-Sex Marriage © Getty Images

Utah is among the 29 states with trigger bans in place should the Supreme Court overturn Obergefell v. Hodges. Existing laws in these states would make same-sex marriage illegal in a heartbeat.

Considering how the Supreme Court effectively overturned Roe v. Wade and sent abortion policy back for each state to decide, it could do the same with gay marriage by overturning the 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges.

Justice Clarence Thomas has made it clear that he and other court members should reconsider Obergefell, and the fact that it has been in place for a shorter time makes it an easier target for a reversal.

It seems like Utah’s Republicans do not particularly agree with that train of thought. To the surprise of practically everyone following U.S. politics closely, Utah’s Republican congressmen voted to protect same-sex marriage.


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Same-Sex Marriage Now Allowed by Church of Scotland

The Church of Scotland has voted to allow same-sex marriage

Following years of campaigning, The Church of Scotland has voted to allow clergy to conduct same-sex marriage for the first time with 274 votes for and 136 against. This mean same-sex couples will be married in church services conducted by ministers. However, this only applies if they so choose. Ministers can choose not to take part if they do not wish to.

This is not only a win for religious LGBTQ+ individuals in Scotland but also for those that are not religious as the last major progressive, LGBTQ+ centred law seen in Scotland occurred in December of 2014 when same-sex marriage was legalised outside of the Church. 

Church of Scotland Allows same-sex marriage
© Danny Lawson

The decision, unsurprisingly, was met with debate. Both positive and negative reactions were shared online, including former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson who tweeted: 

“Delighted to see that the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has voted for ministers to be able to conduct same-sex marriage.” 

On the other hand, The Covenant Fellowship Scotland (evangelicals within the Church of Scotland) issued a statement citing a complete lack of “any compelling or persuasive biblical evidence that might permit ministers and deacons of the Church of Scotland to officiate at same-sex marriages.” However, it is expected that the backlash will have no effect on the legislation, and we can expect minister-officiated same-sex marriages in the coming months of 2022.