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Opinion
Noah Feldman

Utah Gay-Marriage Ban Was a Predictable Disaster

Confused because the Supreme Court just blocked same-sex marriage in Utah? Don't worry, you're not alone. 

Confused because the Supreme Court just blocked same-sex marriage in Utah? Don't worry, you're not alone. The court, you see, was for gay marriage before it was against it. Or kind of -- you see, to put it in technical legal terms, this is a total friggin' mess. And, oh yeah, one thing: it was to be expected all along.

Start with the court's decision last June. It struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act as a violation of the equal dignity of gay people. That's probably why you remember it -- a major landmark decision on broad constitutional principles so similar to genuine morality as to make the difference all but impossible to see. And the federal district judge in Utah who struck down the state's ban on gay marriage thought the same as you did. He interpreted U.S. v. Windsor to require equal dignity and the law banning marriage as a derogation from that value.