During the nearly four-hour hearing on the case, attorneys for the state argued that Utah’s law promotes the state’s interest in “responsible procreation” and the “optimal mode of child-rearing.” They also asserted it’s not the courts’ role to determine how a state defines marriage, and that the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling doesn’t give same-sex couples the universal right to marry.
Another of the couples, Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge, said they were elated.
“I’m just kind of in shock. My brother called and said, ‘When are you getting married?” said Wood, 58, an English professor Utah Valley University.
In the ruling, Shelby wrote that the right to marry is a fundamental right protected by the U.S. Constitution.
“These rights would be meaningless if the Constitution did not also prevent the government from interfering with the intensely personal choices an individual makes when that person decides to make a solemn commitment to another human being,” Shelby wrote.
Shelby served in the Utah Army National Guard from 1988 to 1996 and was a combat engineer in Operation Desert Storm. He graduated from the University of Virginia law school in 1998 and clerked for the U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Greene in Utah. He then spent about 12 years in private practice before he became a judge.