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Sides Prepare for Battle Over Same-Sex Amendment

Sides Prepare for Battle Over Same-Sex Amendment

Posted - Nov. 18, 2004 at 4:40 p.m.



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Richard Piatt Reporting The same-sex marriage issue is not over, despite a constitutional amendment. A Utah group is preparing for legal challenges to Defense of Marriage Laws Nationwide--those similar to Utah's own Amendment Three.

The newly formed non-profit 'Marriage Law Foundation' will lend legal expertise to states that ask for it. At the same time, there is no challenge to Utah's own marriage measure, Amendment Three.

Amendment Three defines marriage as solely a man-woman union. But it also restricts legal recognition of all civil and common-law unions. Lawsuits are anticipated on that portion of the Amendment, but groups like the ACLU are in no hurry to take the matter to court, preferring to wait until individual cases help expose the Amendments' legal flaws, it says.

Those in favor of Amendment Three aren't waiting for specific challenges. Today the 'Marriage Law Foundation' prepared to help with those challenges when they come, wherever they come up nationwide.

Monte Stewart, Marriage Law Foundation: “Those seeking radical change for marriage are going to focus their efforts on those measures that not only define marriage, but that address civil unions."

In Utah the Legislature is split on whether the attorney general, who spoke out against the second part of the Amendment, should now be asked to defend it.

The Governor at her monthly KUED News conference, today expressed confidence in attorney General Mark Shurtleff, and admitted she also had mixed feelings in spite of supporting Amendment Three.

Gov. Olene Walker: "If you ask my preference, it's clear, I would have rather had the first statement. I felt the constitution should state principals, not specifics, they should be in state statute."

Utah's top lawyers will stay divided on both sides of Amendment Three. One side is ready to defend it.

Monte Stewart, Marriage Law Foundation: "The fact is the marriage law foundation will be there to offer give full and vigorous defense of the amendment."

There will be an equally vigorous fight against it, but only when the time is right.

Questions about Amendment Three's full effects have already come into play in a Utah protective order case, even though the measure doesn't take effect until January First.

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