The Other State In California's Gay-Marriage Tangle

The "other state" in California's rancorous, legal tangle over marriage is Utah. The 2008 campaign that successfully got the voter initiative known as Prop 8 passed — thereby overturning a California Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage — not only held huge interest in Utah but, according to campaign disclosures, members of the Latter Day Saints Church — which is headquarted in Salt Lake City — raised approximately $3.8 million to block gay marriage. However, on Aug. 4, when federal Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco overturned Prop 8 — and on Aug. 12, when he said he was prepared to lift the stay on same-sex marriages from resuming — the reactions from Utahans were far from monolithic. The night of Walker's decision approximately 600 Utahans bearing rainbow flags gathered at the state capitol building in Salt Lake City to honor the victory of same-sex marriage advocates in California before marching around Temple Square, headquarters of the LDS Church. "We do a lot of protests in Utah. Utah is a state that you have to fight tooth and nail for them to recognize you as a human being," said Eric Ethington of who organized the march, "Thank goodness in this instance common decency and law triumphed over religious opinion." Ethington called the Proposition 8 a "travesty of justice" and said that Walker's decision left the gay community in Utah feeling both elated and validated as human beings. The official Mormon reaction, of course, was predictable. On Aug. 4, the LDS church released a statement declaring that "The Church ... regrets today's decision." The statement went on to say that it believed that "marriage between a man and woman is the bedrock of society. We recognize that this decision represents only the opening of a vigorous debate in the courts over the rights of the people to define and protect this most fundamental institution — marriage.",8599,2010330,00.html