Much like Proposition 8’s journey through the courts, a new group in Utah is planning a court battle against the ban on gay marriage in Utah. Restore Our Humanity is a coalition of community members working with a legal team to launch a challenge to Utah’s Amendment 3, which was passed in 2004.
The group’s efforts are still in a beginning phase and many details, such as the exact lawyers and firms participating in the challenge, are not ready to be released, said spokesperson Matt Spencer. The court challenge is specific to Utah and offers a chance for the community to seek legal recourse for a wrong, he said.
“This is a Utah issue, period,” Spencer said. “It’s so great to see what’s happening around the country and there is so much movement and energy behind this movement.”
The group has been meeting regularly to start planning specifics, including where to take the court challenge, who should represent the community and how to pay for all the efforts. The first fundraiser will take place on the evening of April 7 at Zest Restaurant, 275 S. 200 West.
“This is really exciting. It’s about more than just LGBT rights. It’s about human rights in general and speaking out anytime anyone is treated as a second-class citizen,” Spencer said.
Utah’s Amendment 3 was passed by the Utah Legislature, as well as more than 70 percent of Utah voters. The amendment defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman and barred equal legal recognition for any other union. Utah is one of 30 states with similar constitutional measures and in 2012, Minnesota voters were the first to reject a constitutional ban on gay marriage.
In 2008, leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints publicly backed California’s Proposition 8 and had a letter read to all members that encouraged them to “do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time.”
The measure has been challenged in state and federal courts and the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on it in June. Depending on how the Court rules, Utah’s legal challenge could be shaped differently.
“We really want people to know about what Restore our Humanity is doing and that they can be a part of this amazing effort,” Spencer said.
For more information, go to restoreourhumanity.org.