Challenge to Utah's same-sex marriage ban moves on

By By BRADY McCOMBS

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — An attorney for three gay couples challenging Utah's same-sex marriage ban is imploring a federal judge to throw out the 2004 voter-passed law, saying discrimination has gone long enough.

Peggy Tomsic said Wednesday during a nearly four-hour hearing that last summer's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act takes precedence. She called the topic the civil rights issue of our time.

Attorneys for the state of Utah countered that it is not the courts' role to determine how a state defines marriage, and that the Supreme Court ruling doesn't give same-sex couples the universal right to marry. They also said it's Utah's right to foster a culture of "responsible procreation," which this law does.

U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby asked dozens of questions and said he hopes to have a ruling by early January.

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