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Lawmaker opens bill to codify marriage equality in Utah

Jun 7, 2022, 3:49 PM | Updated: 4:38 pm
marriage Utah Sen. Derek Kitchen firearm codify...
Utah Sen. Derek Kitchen says party switching is partly blame for loss in last month's Democratic primary election. Photo credit: Laura Seitz, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — One Utah lawmaker is trying to protect the right to same-sex marriage.

Supporters of same-sex marriage fear that if the Supreme Court can so easily reverse its own decision in a landmark case like Roe v. Wade, the justices could similarly undo their decision in the 2015 case Obergefell v. Hodges, which established a right to same-sex marriage.

That’s why state Sen. Derek Kitchen has opened a bill to officially codify marriage equality in Utah.

“The only job of the Utah Legislature is to protect our families,” Kitchen said at a press conference at the state Capitol Tuesday afternoon. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to live up to our calling.”

Kitchen is the only openly gay state lawmaker in Utah. He won a lawsuit against the state in 2013 that fought bans on same-sex marriage, making Utah the first state to legalize marriage equality through federal courts.

But Utah’s current code only recognizes the legal union of a man and a woman. Twenty-nine states have constitutional amendments that would ban same-sex marriage, and 31 states have statutes that would ban them.

Kitchen was joined by Jim Obergefell, the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges. The two said they are hoping to protect the future of same-sex marriage for not only Utah, but the rest of the United States.

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Lawmaker opens bill to codify marriage equality in Utah