News / USA

    Further Battles on Same-Sex Marriage Expected in 2014

    Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill announces that the issuing of marriage licenses will continue at the Salt Lake County Clerk's office in Salt Lake City, Utah, Dec. 23, 2013.
    Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill announces that the issuing of marriage licenses will continue at the Salt Lake County Clerk's office in Salt Lake City, Utah, Dec. 23, 2013.
    Michael Bowman
    Gay people are getting married in one of America’s most socially-conservative states, after a federal judge ruled Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Last week’s decision in Utah capped a string of legal and political victories for gay rights across the nation in 2013, with more battles expected in the year to come.

    2013 saw a doubling to 18 of the number of U.S. states where same-sex marriage is legal, as well as a Supreme Court decision requiring the federal government to recognize gay unions. More than one-third of Americans now live in states allowing same-sex marriage, and polls continue to show an ever-growing majority of the public backs the right of gay people to wed.

    Last week’s federal ruling in Utah was particularly striking, given that the state is home to the Mormon Church, which strongly disapproves of homosexuality. Seth Anderson and his partner were the first of hundreds of gay couples to marry in recent days.

    Anderson says, “We are so happy, and I am so proud to be in Utah right now."

    Utah Assistant Attorney General Philip Lott had a different reaction. He said, “The state is disappointed in the ruling.”

    Utah’s governor issued a statement decrying that “an activist federal judge is attempting to override the will of the people of Utah”. The state will appeal the ruling, and has repeatedly asked federal courts to halt same-sex unions while the legal battle goes forward. So far, those requests have been denied.

    In striking down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage, the federal judge cited the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this year.

    New York University Law School professor Ari Waldman says,“The Supreme Court said that the federal government cannot discriminate against legally-married same-sex couples,”  said .

    He says, “However, the Supreme Court did not address the issue of whether a state could ban gays from the institution of marriage.”

    Gay couples are suing for the right to marry in multiple states that prohibit such unions, while gay rights groups are mobilizing elsewhere to repeal state bans through the legislative process or at the ballot box. Groups opposed to same-sex marriage remain active and vocal, but seem to be losing political clout.

    Even though the Supreme Court did not settle the question of same-sex marriage nationwide, its decision striking down one particular form of discrimination against gay people has strengthened legal arguments for ending state bans in places like Utah, according to Waldman.

    “There is no doubt that the state bans on same-sex marriage are on thin ice [vulnerable]," said Waldman. "[Supreme Court] Justice [Anthony] Kennedy was pretty clear about the guarantee of equality for gay couples. With each decision, more and more people in this country are living in ‘marriage equality’ states, which means that more and more people are going to live in a world where gay couples are getting married."

    For 2014, Waldman expects court decisions on same-sex marriage bans in as many as 10 additional states, plus one or two other states that may legalize gay unions through the democratic process. Ultimately, he expects the issue to return to the Supreme Court, but says the timing of such a decision is hard to predict.

    You May Like

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora