lesbian civil union ceremony
The battle over same-sex marriage in the United States enters a new legal front on Thursday when a federal appeals court hears oral arguments on a Utah state law forbidding gays and lesbians from marrying. The hearing in an ornate century-old building in Denver is the first at a regional U.S. appeals court since a Supreme Court ruling last June forced the federal government to extend benefits to same-sex married couples in states where gay marriage is legal. In cases since, eight federal judges have used that decision to rule in favor of same-sex couples. This new round at the next tier of the federal bench could alter that trend as cases move closer to resolution at the ideologically divided U.S. Supreme Court. Unlike the landmark ruling on federal benefits, the cases making their way through the courts now raise a more fundamental question: Does the U.S. Constitution extend to same-sex couples the same right to marry opposite-sex couples have? Hearing Thursday’s case is a panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals consisting of two Republican-appointed judges and one Democratic appointee. More