Discrimination of gay Utahns to enter pending Supreme Court debate on marriage equality
Pointing to incidents of discrimination toward gay people, Utah Pride Center officials announced Wednesday they will file a court brief on impending cases before the U.S. Supreme Court involving gay marriage: California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). One of the cases, from California, could establish or reject a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Another case, from New York, challenges a federal law that requires the federal government to deny benefits to gay and lesbian couples married in states that allow such unions. There are nine states that offer same-sex marriage including Washington D.C. "There’s a system of discrimination that impacts LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people who live in Utah," Paul Burke, an attorney, said during a 10 a.m. news conference Wednesday where the court participation was announced. Burke cited four events in Utah as examples of discrimination against the LGBT community. He said the first occurred on Jan. 30, 1996, when the Utah Senate met behind closed doors to prevent teens from forming gay-straight alliance clubs in public high schools. Lawmakers later enacted school club laws that raised obstacles to starting such clubs in schools.