JUDGE ROBERT SHELBY: Surprise hero of marriage equality fight.
Interesting newsmaker profile in New York Times
on the Utah federal judge
who said the state's ban on same-sex marriage
He was highly recommended for the bench by Utah's Republican senators. He's a registered Republican. The only political contribution in his record was to a Republican candidate. He's a combat veteran. He had, said his Reublican backers, an unwavering commitment to the law.
Of course, that depends on what you think the Constitution's promise of equal rights under the law means. Does it mean some legally married people may be held more equal than others under the law? Judge Robert Shelby
decided otherwise, joining judges in other states — and we hope some soon in Arkansas — in finding an obvious contradiction between discriminatory state laws and the country's foundation document.
Mormon-dominated Utah isn't happy. Officials are hoping to override the ruling. A Supreme Court day awaits. The judge is staying quiet. But his legal work spoke for him;
But this month, when it was time to decide a case brought by three gay couples challenging Utah’s ban on same-sex marriages, Judge Shelby appeared to be moved by their stories. In his 50-page ruling, he repeated the stories of how each couple met and fell in love, referring to them not only as plaintiffs or by last name, but as Derek and Moudi, Karen and Kate, Laurie and Kody.
He wrote that Utah’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage violated the Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection under the law, and said that the ban denied gay and lesbian couples “their fundamental right to marry.”
May his number increase.