UPDATES: Two attempts by the state to stay judge's ruling have been rejected by both courts so far...
By Brad Friedman on 12/21/2013, 4:30pm PT  

Over the years, whenever I chat with one of my neighbors (who happens to be gay) about various issues of marriage equality in the news, the state of Utah inevitably seems to come up as the conversational worst-case-scenario stand-in for the dying status quo.

"It'll be interesting to see what effect the new Supreme Court ruling in the Windsor case will have across the country," I might say. "Will a gay couple who were married in California, for example, suddenly stop receiving their federal recognition and marriage benefits if their job requires that they must move to, say, Utah, for their work? Will the courts stand for a couple receiving full federal recognition in one state, but allow that recognition to be removed simply because they moved to another? That doesn't seem either legally or Constitutionally sustainable...Even in a state like Utah."

Welp, guess we now have our answer to that speculation at least, and much more specifically than any of us might have thought over the past year or three, now that a federal judge yesterday found Utah's state constitutional ban against gay marriage to be in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Some 30 other states currently have similar laws or state constitutional bans on equality for all.

"The court holds that Utah's prohibition on same-sex marriage conflicts with the United States Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and due process under the law," Judge Robert J. Shelby (an Obama appointee) wrote in his 53-page ruling at the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, Central Division. "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."

I guess I'll have to find another "Utah" for purposes of neighborly speculative conversation about equal marriage rights legal issues. The Deep South states like Mississippi or Alabama might have seemed like good candidates. But between the fairly clear, conservative --- and surprisingly early --- holiday message sent by Judge Shelby in the Utah case yesterday (which is, of course, being appealed by the state, but that will fail soon too), and the awesome message from this Daily Show video from last month, I suspect we'll be running completely out of status quo states all together pretty soon. Or, at least, we'll have 50 status quo states...

As if all of what happened in Utah yesterday isn't swell enough, and just before Christmas to make matters even nicer, with couples there giddily running to county clerk's offices within an hour of the federal court's ruling to publicly proclaim their love and get hitched --- like almost all other consenting adults have been able to do in this country for decades --- I suspect that even the heavily Mormon population in the great Beehive State will soon be asking themselves: Wait, why was I so bothered by this happening that I donated my hard-earned money and offered my previous votes to people who would so cruelly deny such a basic and harmless human right to two loving people?

Yes, support for marriage equality will soon soar --- even in Utah --- as it quickly becomes crystal clear that the world hasn't ended --- even in Utah --- and, indeed, has gotten measurably nicer for a whole bunch of people all at once. A whole bunch of people got happier and nobody got hurt. That was easy. What took so long? And what must those people against equality for all for so long have been thinking?

The rest of you states filled with politicians and grifters who have built industries to raise dirty money and cruel power by ginning up, fostering and harnessing hatred against your fellow man? You are now on full notice as well. Your days are more numbered than you can even allow yourself to imagine.

Rights win. Haters lose. Again. Get used to it. Got a problem with that? Maybe a country that tries to move toward liberty and freedom isn't for you. I hear Saudi Arabia is nice this time of year, though. Feel free to use that money you've been wasting in support of hate to buy a one way ticket. I'll be more than happy to give you a ride to the airport.

So, I suspect, would this happy Utah couple who also got hitched yesterday...

For more visions of your future nightmares, see BuzzFeed's collection of photos from Utah's surprise first day...

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UPDATE 12/22/13: The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has denied an emergency motion by Utah state officials to stay Judge Shelby's ruling that overturned the same sex marriage-ban in Utah. Marriage equality will continue, for now, in Utah...

UPDATE 12/23/13: Judge Shelby has denied a state request to stay his own ruling pending the state's appeal to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Marriage equality will continue, for now, in Utah...