SALT LAKE CITY — A lawsuit filed against the state of Utah sought to validate claims that Amendment 3, which defines a "one-man one-woman marriage", is unconstitutional.
Utah's Attorney General rejected the suit, filed on behalf of three couples, including Derek Kitchen and Moudi Sbeity. They claim that marriage in Utah should be available to all couples, regardless of sexual orientation.
"We really don't want to step on anyone's toes, but we desire to have equality and to achieve the same thing everyone else in this state wants," said Kitchen.
The state response in this federal court filing takes a hard line on an emotional issue.
"Utah has the sovereign right to define and regulate marriage," the Attorney General's Office argues.
We really don't want to step on anyone's toes, but we desire to have equality and to achieve the same thing everyone else in this state wants,
The state also said the plaintiffs aren't being denied any constitutionally protected rights and claims "same sex marriage has never been recognized in Utah...Same sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions are not recognized in Utah," the state argued.
Valarie Larabee of the Utah Pride Center said the wording of the state's arguments is clearly in response to recent Supreme Court rulings on same sex marriage rights.
"I was shocked at the seeming detachment of the state of Utah to issues that are so personal to member of the LGBTQ community," Larabee said.
The Utah filing comes as NBC News reported the California Supreme Court has rejected a request from proponents of Proposition 8, who asked that it be declared still in effect.