Former Attorney General Shurtleff opposed Amendment 3

Monday , February 03, 2014 - 3:14 PM

Contributed, Thomas Priest

Editor,

In his state of the state address, Governor Herbert encouraged Utah to set a model for how states handle the same-sex marriage issue. He said that there would be no tolerance of hatred and bigotry. If that is the case, I would like to see our legislators move forward with SB 100 that would limit discrimination in housing and the workplace against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people. Passing this bill would demonstrate our intolerance of hatred and bigotry, as Governor Herbert demanded in his address.

As we are waiting for the federal appeals court to rule on the constitutionality of Amendment 3, I have noticed that the media does not seem to write about the amendment as it was passed in 2004. Amendment 3 states: “Marriage consists only of the legal union between a man and a woman. No other domestic union, however dominated, may be recognized as a marriage or given the same or substantially equivalent legal effect.” Before Utah passed this amendment, Attorney General Mark Shurtleff opposed the amendment.

If I recall accurately, Shurtleff felt the first part of the amendment (“legal union between a man and a woman”) was redundant with earlier legislation, and the second part (“No other domestic union…may be…given the same or substantially equivalent legal effect) would eventually be ruled unconstitutional.

At the time, I think many people had a hard time getting their heads around same-sex marriage, but they thought we should move toward civil unions for homosexual couples that would grant them the same rights as heterosexual couples. Amendment 3, of course, prohibited that possibility and now look where we are.

Thom Priest

Ogden

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