Utah and Idaho Put Spotlight on Gay Marriage

In December of 2013, a federal court ruled that same-sex couples in Utah would have their marriage rights recognized by the federal government after a state court had decided the opposite. The state government took issue with this ruling and asked for a Supreme Court review, which they were granted a few weeks later on Jan. 6, 2014. This story has once again put a spotlight on the gay marriage debate and it has been a daily news story since it surfaced. Many people now feel the Supreme Court’s decision will be indicative of the state of the civil rights movement for same-sex couples in the United States. I believe it is just one of many cases the court will soon hear regarding gay marriage and gay rights.

On Jan. 14, according to the Idaho State Journal, “‘Same-sex couples legally married in other states but living in Idaho must file state income taxes separately,’ the House Revenue and Taxation Committee said.” This can be viewed as a step backwards from what the federal court ruled regarding marriages in Utah, but it is surely not indicative of the final Supreme Court decision. Many people are outraged about this tax decision, including Idaho state legislators such as Democratic Idaho representative Grant Burgoyne, who is quoted in the Idaho State Journal stating, “It’s pretty obvious to me… this is a denial of equal protection.”

Another one of the latest developments regarding this issue was reported in the Idaho local news source East Idaho News stating that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is suing the state of Idaho over the issue of same-sex marriage. In a statement to East Idaho News, ACLU has put forward their belief that “the [same-sex] marriages are valid, regardless of how the Supreme Court rules.” This is only one of many examples of organizations with political or social agendas capitalizing on the media popularity of Idaho’s current situation, pushing their views and brands into the public eye.

The debate between those who are in support of and are against gay marriage is once again put in the spotlight with these developments in Utah and Idaho. Some feel it is the right of the states to decide the fate of gay marriage, while others feel it is the government’s responsibility to set forth a national policy regarding the issue.

In my opinion, due to the deep political divisions in Washington, D.C., it is unlikely that nationwide legislation will be established anytime soon that supports gay marriage. More and more states, such as Utah and Idaho, will continue to take up the issue, and overtime a patchwork of different laws regarding gay marriage and gay rights will be formed. New state legislation regarding gay marriage will result in many more court cases and eventually the Supreme Court will have to take up the issue of gay marriage and gay rights in America.

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