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Gay Utahns among couples marrying in New York

Published July 23, 2011 9:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

At least two couples with Utah ties are among the 823 couples expected to tie the knot in New York City on Sunday, the first day that same-sex marriage is legal in the Empire State.

Former Utah Sen. Scott McCoy plans to marry his partner of 13 years, Mark Barr. The couple moved to New York in June. McCoy, a Democrat, was the first openly gay person to serve in the Utah Senate. Salt Lake City residents Jerry Rapier and Kirt Bateman, who are frequent travelers to New York to attend the theater, also signed up to be married. Rapier is producing director of Plan-B Theatre, and Bateman is executive director of the Davis Arts Council.

"We want to have the same legal protections that everybody else has," McCoy said.

Utahns, who adopted a constitutional ban on same-sex unions in 2004, long have been overwhelmingly opposed to gay marriage. A new poll by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling (PPP) found that 27 percent of Utah voters think same-sex marriage should be legal compared with 66 percent who think it should be illegal.

But, in step with a national trend, young adults in Utah are more likely to favor gay marriage. Among those ages 18 to 29, 42 percent support gay marriage and 39 percent oppose it.

North Carolina-based PPP surveyed 732 Utah voters from July 8-10. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

— Rosemary Winters