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Utah joins effort to defend traditional marriage in U.S. Supreme Court

Published February 2, 2013 12:29 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Utah is joining more than a dozen other states in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold state and federal laws that define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

The state has signed on to two amicus, or friend of the court briefs, that ask the nation's high court to overturn lower court rulings that invalidated California's Proposition 8 and the U.S. Congress Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.

Passed by voters in 2008, Proposition 8 banned gay marriage in California. DOMA was enacted by Congress in 1996 and established the definition of marriage in federal law for the purpose of deciding who may receive federal benefits. Proposition 8 was struck down by a panel of judges from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2012. DOMA has been struck down by four federal district courts and two appeals courts.

The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear challenges to both laws in March and rulings are expected in June. 

Utah is one of 40 states to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. Voters also amended the state's constitution to ban gay marriage in 2004.

"Traditional marriage is the bedrock foundation for families and society," Utah Attorney General John Swallow said in a prepared statement released Friday. "As part of my promise to protect Utah families, we will fight to make sure traditional marriage is protected and preserved."

Utah is one of 19 states joining the challenge of the Proposition 8 ruling and one of 17 seeking to defend DOMA.

jdobner@sltrib.com