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LOGAN, Utah (AP) — A federal judge who's been shy about publicly discussing a ruling that thrust him into the spotlight has once again avoided talking directly about his decision to overturn Utah's ban on gay marriage.
At Utah State University's "Fireside Chat & Pizza" policy forum series Tuesday evening, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby instead focused on his life and career and spoke only in broad terms about the ruling that declared Utah's Amendment 3 unconstitutional.
"I ducked your question," Shelby told a University of Utah student who asked about Kitchen V. Herbert, according to the Logan Herald Journal (http://bit.ly/1DxpU1X ).
"I will say this: What I attempt to do in every written decision — and in that one as well — was I did the very best I could to articulate as clearly as I knew how what rules I applied, why I applied them, and how I applied them, so that anyone could come and read what I did and say whether it was right or wrong. ... The judiciary in my view should be transparent in that way."
Shelby, who graduated from USU in 1994, also spoke broadly about how morality should figure into a judge's work.
"The decision in the same-sex marriage case, I think, has prompted a dialogue in our society — and I think it's a healthy dialogue — on what is the proper function of a judiciary," Shelby said. "What role does a judge's view of morals play in that decision? My answer is none."
More than 1,000 gay and lesbian couples married during the brief period in December 2013 and January 2014 before decision was challenged. Same-sex marriage in Utah has since been put on hold while the matter plays out in the courts.
Information from: The Herald Journal, http://www.hjnews.com