DENVER, COLORADO (Worthy News)-- In a historic decision, a federal appeals court has ruled that a state's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, setting up a possible Supreme Court battle over the issue.
A three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver voted 2-1 that Utah's ban is unconstitutional.
"We hold that the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right to marry, establish a family, raise children, and enjoy the full protection of a state's marital laws. A state may not deny the issuance of a marriage license to two persons, or refuse to recognize their marriage, based solely upon the sex of the persons in the marriage union," the court said.
The 10th Circuit upheld a lower court ruling that tossed out Utah's ban. It issued a stay of its ruling pending likely appeals, either to the full appeals panel or the U.S. Supreme Court. -- Source
The Utah case was the first in the nation in which a federal judge struck down a state ban on same-sex marriage. Still pending on appeal is a Virginia case that also struck down a state ban.
The battle in Utah became the template of later legal fights as federal courts throughout the nation wrestled with state bans on gay marriage. Federal judges have been unanimous in upholding the right to gay marriage and have struck down the bans, saying they violate the equal-protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. Also frequently cited was the Supreme Court’s 1967 decision to strike down state laws barring marriage between races in a Virginia case. -- Source