Senator Derek Kitchen: Utah has a “trigger ban” on marriage equality

Jun 10, 2022, 12:24 PM | Updated: Dec 30, 2022, 11:20 am

kitchen codify gay marriage utah...

June 7, 2022: Sen. Derek Kitchen holds a copy of the Utah Code regarding marriage recognition. Photo credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Trigger laws across the United States have come into focus in the wake of the unprecedented leak of a U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion in early May.

These laws, already in place in 13 states including Utah, would automatically take effect should the court rule to overturn the landmark abortion case, Roe v. Wade, as the leaked draft seems to indicate.

The question for Utah State Senator Derek Kitchen is whether there is another trigger law or trigger ban, that would impact marriage equality in Utah, should another landmark case be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. To answer the question, Kitchen points to the Utah state constitution.

In 2004, Utah passed an amendment to the state constitution, Article I, Section 29, which reads:

  1. Marriage consists only of the legal union between a man and a woman.
  2. No other domestic union, however denominated, may be recognized as a marriage or given the same or substantially equivalent legal effect.

To Kitchen, this is a “trigger ban,” and this week he began the paperwork to codify marriage equality under Utah law.

Marriage equality, individual privacy at risk, Kitchen says

“I’d like to believe that marriage equality is settled law, law of the land, with the Obergefell decision back in 2015 which deemed that same-sex couples do indeed have the constitutional protection to marriage under equal protection,” Senator Kitchen told KSL at Night.

In 2014, a year before the Obergefell decision, a study by the Pew Research Center found that 51% of the Utah adults that were surveyed favored or strongly favored same-sex marriage. In the same survey, 45% of Utahns that were questioned said they opposed or strongly opposed same-sex marriage.

In 2016, a poll conducted by Utah Policy and Dan Jones & Associates found that 52% of Utahns who were asked opposed legal same-sex marriage, 42% were in favor of legal same-sex marriage. Six percent of respondents reported they were undecided on the issue.

“But seeing what the Supreme Court is poised to do when it comes to reproductive health care … if you look at what Alito has said, in that he really goes after individual privacy and a number of other issues,” Kitchen said, “it begs the question – are we actually secure in the fundamental rights we’ve achieved through the courts over the last decade or so?’

Change, and the political climate

KSL NewsRadio asked Senator Kitchen if he thought changing the state constitution or passing legislation that would protect same-sex marriages is possible in the current political climate. He is hopeful.

“I’ve spoken to a couple of my colleagues in the Senate, all of them on the Republican side of the aisle. They say, ‘if this makes it to the Senate floor, it passes.’ My only concern is that President Adams and others in leadership might not let it out of committee.”

To date, there has been no comment by Utah’s legislative leadership about a legal change to marriage equality in Utah.

And to be clear, there is no pending challenge to the Obergefell decision before the Supreme Court.


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

All News

Russell Maughan and the plane used to make the historic flight Nathan Hoch plans to recreate....

Josuee Sanchez

Utah grad student Nathan Hoch aims to recreate historic flight

100 years ago, a Utah local made the first coast to coast flight in under 24 hours. Now another plans to recreate the journey.

27 minutes ago

A wildfire burning Neola in Duchesne County broke out on Monday, according to Utah Fire Info. (Bran...

Mark Jones

New wildfire breaks out Monday in Duchesne County

The Big Draw wildfire is burning in Duchesne County. Officials say there are no structures threatened as of Monday evening.

8 hours ago

File photo of a Utah elementary school. The School Safety Security Task Force met Monday, June 17, ...

Briana Chavez

School Safety Security Task Force discuss new requirements for schools as part of new bill

One of the biggest requirements includes a school safety needs assessment. Each school in the state must fill one out.

8 hours ago

High wind speeds in Utah County caused property damage on Monday, June 17, 2024....

Emma Keddington

Portions of Utah placed on high wind alert

The Salt Lake National Weather Service warned Utahns of high wind levels Monday evening, primarily affecting those in Utah Valley.

10 hours ago

drivers memorial day...

Curt Gresseth

Is it time for Utah to bring back photo cop to bust speeders?

A Utah lawmaker joins the show to discuss a possible return of photo radar to bust speeders.

10 hours ago

Nieghborhood in Layton across from an industrial lot, with a no outlet sign....

Heather Peterson

Concerns raised over construction of above-ground diesel tanks near Hill Air Force Base

Some Layton residents have concerns over two above-ground diesel tanks being built by Hill Airforce Base and their neighborhood.

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...


Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Senator Derek Kitchen: Utah has a “trigger ban” on marriage equality