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Will Utah Eventually End America's Same-Sex Marriage Debate?

The final ruling on Kitchen v. Herbert could accomplish what DOMA and Prop. 8 cases failed to do.
Will Utah Eventually End America's Same-Sex Marriage Debate?
Image: Mike Licht/Flickr

Yesterday's emergency ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court not only ended a record run of nearly 1,000 marriages in Utah. The apparently unanimous decision to temporarily restore Utah's state law banning same-sex marriages suggests this case could be the legal battle both sides of the debate have been waiting for.

In June, the Supreme Court managed to rule on two separate cases involving same-sex marriage without ruling on the merits of a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Now court watchers are assessing whether the unusually straightforward legal case in Utah likely makes it, as NPR suggests, "the case that forces the high court to wrestle [directly] with the big issue."

Past cases have involved multiple legal questions or technical issues that have allowed courts to issue rulings without addressing the merits of the core issue. Kitchen v. Herbert has no technical issues and no legal questions to answer besides the power of states to bar same-sex marriage within ...

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