Utah Same-Sex Marriage Ban, Amendment 3 (2004)

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The Utah Marriage Amendment, also known as "Constitutional Amendment 3," was on the November 2004 statewide ballot in Utah as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved, but later overturned by the U.S. District Court for Utah.[1][2]


Federal appeals court ruling

On June 25, 2014, a three member panel of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision made by the U.S. District Court for Utah in December of 2013, which struck down the state's ban on gay marriage. This was the first ruling made by a federal appeals court on this issue, which sets a historic precedent that voter-approved bans on same-sex marriage violate the Fourteenth Amendment rights of same-sex couples to equal protection and due process.[3]

The court states:[4]

We hold that the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right to marry, establish a family, raise children, and enjoy the full protection of a state’s marital laws. A state may not deny the issuance of a marriage license to two persons, or refuse to recognize their marriage, based solely upon the sex of the persons in the marriage union. For the reasons stated in this opinion, we affirm. [5]

A recording of the decision can be heard here

Stay of decision

Implementation of the decision was immediately stayed pending anticipated appeals to either the full appeals panel or the United States Supreme Court. The Utah Attorney General announced that he will challenge the decision, bypassing the full 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and taking the case directly to the US Supreme Court.[6][7][8]

United States Supreme Court

On October 6, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States declined to hear the case, thus allowing the ruling of the Tenth Circuit Court to stand and legalizing same-sex marriage in Utah.[9]

Election results

Utah Constitutional Amendment 3 (2004)
OverturnedotOverturned Case:Kitchen v. Herbert 
Yes 593,297 65.86%

Election Results via: The Utah Lieutenant Governor

Text of measure

The language on the ballot said:

Shall the Utah Constitution be amended to provide that: (1) marriage consists only of the legal union between a man and a woman; and (2) no other domestic union may be recognized as a marriage or given the same or substantially equal legal effect?

Campaign contributions

About $522,000 was spent promoting the measure and about $780,000 was spent to defeat it. Bruce Bastian was the largest donor, individually and through a foundation giving $364,000 to the opposition campaign.

Related measures

Voters in 30 states have approved legislatively-referred constitutional amendments or initiated constitutional amendments prohibiting same-sex marriages at the ballot box. The first constitutional prohibition was in 1998, and the latest one occurred in May 2012. Most of these amendments define marriage along the lines of a "union of one male and one female."


The following constitutional bans were approved by voters, but later overturned by courts:


Cases overturning the following bans have been appealed to higher courts and are currently stayed:

Note: Same-sex marriage is legal in St. Louis County and the state recognizes same-sex marriages.


The following constitutional bans were approved by voters and have been upheld or not overturned by courts:


The following constitutional bans were defeated by voters:

Note: Arizonans defeated a measure in 2006, but approved one in 2008, which has been overturned.

See also

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External links