The decision from a three-judge panel in Denver upheld a lower court ruling that struck down Utah’s gay marriage ban. The panel immediately put on the ruling on hold so it could be appealed, either to the entire 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals or directly to the nation’s highest court.
‘‘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 panel wrote. Gay marriage in Utah likely will remain on hold pending the appeal.
The decision gives increased momentum to a legal cause that already compiled an impressive winning streak in the lower courts after the Supreme Court last year struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Since then, 14 federal judges have issued rulings siding with gay marriage advocates.
The latest Gallup poll shows that 55% of the population supports same-sex marriage including 78% of those 18-29. The debate is mostly over–which is amazing considering that only 27% were in support of same-sex marriage in 1996.