Things To Act
Monday, August 09, 2004
Utah AG Candidates Oppose SSM Amendment
Desnews. SLTrib.

Interesting issues raised. Given the MO 70-30 margin of victory, passage in Utah looks certain (85+ margins wouldn't be out of the question), except for the possible overreaching in the second part.

My sense at the moment, though I don't have the legal training of the candidates for AG, is that the amendment would certainly bar the Legislature from enacting full-scale civil unions, but not necessarily bar the Legislature from doing anything to make it easier to grant "hospital visitation, emergency medical decision-making and inheritance" rights. As long as a bundle of rights is associated with marriage, making some rights that were formerly part of that bundle explicitly no longer conditional on marriage should be legal. Of course, the Legislature would have to actually do it.

My sense of the candidates' position is that the amendment would cause a lot of chaos (dissolving common-law marriages, etc). My sense is that it likely would, unless the Legislature acts to mitigate such chaos. One's views of the desirability of the amendment, then, would seem to hinge on whether such chaos is necessarily bad enough to scuttle the desirability of the amendment, and the likelihood of the Legislature averting it if so.

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