Gay Marriage

Federal Judge Strikes Down Utah's Gay Marriage Ban

Says it violates U.S. Constitution

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A federal judge in Utah Friday struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage, saying the law violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and due process.

"The state's current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason," wrote U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby. "Accordingly, the court finds that these laws are unconstitutional."

Shelby's ruling came just 16 days after he heard arguments in the case and well before his self-imposed deadline to render a decision by Jan. 7, when the next hearing in the matter was to be held.