SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, June 7, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah State Sen. Derek Kitchen, who sued the state of Utah for the right to marry his boyfriend and who won, now has a goal to protect the legality of same-sex marriage in Utah.
Kitchen’s fear, he told listeners at a news conference on Tuesday, is that the U.S. Supreme Court could overturn marriage equality, which it legalized in 2015. And without the federal law protecting marriage equality, Utah could revert to its existing code, which bans same-sex marriage.
Kitchen noted that U.S. Supreme Court recently leaked documents revealing a possible plan to overturn Roe v. Wade, which in 1973 ruled it was a pregnant woman’s right to have an abortion without excessive governmental restrictions.
Kitchen, who is the only openly gay lawmaker on Utah’s Capitol Hill and is a vocal advocate for the LGBT+ community, noted that in March of this year, “the Utah legislature once again targets our community with a veto override session, spending taxpayer dollars just to single out transgender girls,” in barring them from participation on school sports teams with biological girls.
“I go to work every single day with a firm understanding that I have a responsibility to protect and defend my community, and that’s exactly what I’m doing today,” Kitchen told reporters. “I have had calls and messages from this community over the last few weeks. Just this weekend, we had our Pride Festival. Over 70,000 people showed up. It was huge, the largest in the western United States.
“Utahns know the urgency of aligning our state code with our values. We will not go back we have come too far to go back. We must defend our progress.”
With that, Kitchen announced his planned legislation “quantifying marriage equality in the state of Utah.”
“This bill updates Utah code to make sure LGBTQ families are protected, and that their marriages are protected,” he added.
Kitchen said such action by Utah “will set an example for what can happen in state after state until all 50 states in the United States codify marriage equality and protect our families. We know that there’s great unpredictability with our protections, and civil liberties are granted via opinion by unelected bodies. We cannot control what the Supreme Court will do. But states’ rights matter. And we can choose to make Utah a place for all families.”
Utah needs to make sure all its families are protected, Kitchen said.
“Transgender kids in the state of Utah are under attack. Transgender kids in the United States are under attack. Utah has the highest youth and teen suicide rate in the country. We need to be protecting our children. We need to be showing them that they’re loved, and that when they are old enough to get married and to fall in love, that they’re protected.
“This is an opportunity for the legislature to put its values into action. And I’m so proud to sponsor this legislation today. Because the legislature has the power to protect families in the state of Utah, the legislature must protect families and the state of Utah.”