Late last week attorneys for same-sex couples and the State of Utah delivered oral arguments in the case challenging a Utah law that bans same-sex marriage.
Here in Texas, San Antonio attorney Neel Lane, who represents two couples challenging the Texas ban on same-sex marriage, watched the proceedings and said one of the turning points was a concession made by the Utah attorney general’s office.
“The state acknowledgement that children of same-sex couples would be undoubtedly be better off if their parents were permitted to marry," Lane said. "And the state acknowledged that. And so I think that puts the lie to any thought that somehow restricting same-sex marriage is good for children.”
Lane said the Utah attorney general seemed to be looking for a dissenting opinion regarding how United States v. Windsor applies to state governments. In the Windsor case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could not deny same-sex couples the benefits of marriage.
“Now the question will be: If the U.S. Congress cannot discriminate against people based on sexual orientation with respect to the right to marry, how can states do that?" Lane said.
Regarding the schedule for the Texas case awaiting an audience before the US 5th Circuit, Lane said they are awaiting a briefing schedule and are requesting that process to be expedited.
The Utah case was the first federal appellate court case that kicked off a string of constitutional challenges to same-sex marriage bans across the country.