Utah signs Supreme Court briefs defending traditional marriage laws; Attorney General John Swallow

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Attorney General John Swallow is asking the United States Supreme Court to support state and federal laws defining marriage as a union between a man and woman.  Utah signed two amicus, or friend of the court, briefs asking the Supreme Court to overturn rulings in California’s Proposition 8 case and the U.S. Congress Defense of Marriage Act.

“Traditional marriage is the bedrock foundation for families and society,” Swallow said. “As part of my promise to protect Utah families, we will fight to make sure traditional marriage is protected and preserved.”

Utah is among 40 states that define marriage as the union of a man and woman. Voters also amended the state constitution to clarify this definition of marriage.

Utah is one of 19 states challenging the ruling on Proposition 8 and one of 17 states defending DOMA. Here are summaries of each brief:

Proposition 8: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decided California’s Proposition 8 violated the federal constitution’s equal protection guarantee.  A break from the position held for 40 years that federal courts would protect the states’ unique and important role to define and encourage traditional marriage by refusing to interfere with state marriage definitions or policies. The brief argues the decision has overridden the democratic process and the states contend it unconstitutionally violates California’s sovereignty and “it is a disintegration of perhaps the most fundamental and revered cultural institution of American life: Marriage as we know it.”

DOMA: The Second Circuit Court of Appeals erred by striking down DOMA on similar grounds. The ruling rejected Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act which established the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman. The brief contends the ruling “invalidated a federal law that affirms marriage as it has been understood for centuries by every American colony and state.”


Submitted by: Office of the Utah Attorney General

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews


Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!


  • LeslieDF February 4, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    I have to laugh at the State Of Utah and its Attorney General.

    He argues Prop 8 must be upheld because the federal courts promised to protect all states’ unique and important role in setting marriage policy The federal courts do this by not interfering with any state’s decision.

    He seems to have no objection to the federal Congress interfering with all states by enacting DOMA.

    I suppose he will come up with some “creative” new idea about objecting to Washington, Maryland or Maine decisions about their marriage policies. Maybe couples moving to Utah, after marriage in another state, will be told they cannot divorce because Utah “protects and defends” marriages – ah, some marriages.

    • Joe February 5, 2013 at 10:13 am

      I know of some religious people in Utah in favor of ‘traditional marriages’ who have been married (and divorced) at least five times. Yup, upholding that sanctity of marriage between one man & one woman, five and more times. One religious person was married/divorced 8 times.

      What is AG Swallow’s stance on the polygamists in Utah? Same as Shurtleff?

  • Joe Blow February 4, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    What does the Republican Swallow have to save about political dealing with people convicted of Federal crimes? BTW, how are things working out between Swallow and Johnson? Wow! Johnson & Swallow, Swallow, Johnson….

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.