Citizen Questions Carbon County Commissioners Regarding Same-Sex Marriage

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Carbon County resident Michelle Goldsmith stood before Carbon County Commissioners on Sept. 17 to present a petition and voice concerns regarding same-sex marriage.

During a regularly scheduled county commission meeting on Sept. 3, commissioners Casey Hopes and Jae Potter voted in favor of submitting an amicus brief in support of Utah’s petition for a writ of certiorari to have the same-sex marriage case heard by the Supreme Court. Commissioner John Jones voted against the brief.

The recent vote upset Goldsmith and others who signed a petition against the commission’s action in hopes that their voices would be heard by the Supreme Court.

“Being gay is biologic. It happens before birth,” Goldsmith read from a document before the commission. “It’s not something that needs fixed, it needs to be accepted.”

Goldsmith went on to present several facts and statistics to commissioners before presenting her petition. “In 2004, 39% of citizens in Carbon County were in favor of gay marriage,” she stated. “Following the trend, that would be approximately 52% now.”

With that said, Goldsmith questioned the commissioners on their recent vote to support the amicus brief to be reviewed by the Supreme Court. She feels that the vote was made in haste.

County attorney Christian Bryner explained that the the idea behind voting in favor of the brief was to get it before the Supreme Court for review, it was not a vote in favor or against same-sex marriage. “Both parties want the Supreme Court to hear this brief, but for different reasons,” Bryner explained.

Goldsmith explained that she and over 100 people who signed her petition would like their voices heard by not only the commissioners, but also the Supreme Court. “We never had a chance to speak before the vote was made,” she stated. “I’m asking that you submit this to the court and each of you read the comments attached.”

Jones advised Goldsmith that he will carefully read the information she provided, including the petition and comments. “I do want to clarify as well, that we did advertise this,” Jones said. “But no one came to voice opinions before the vote.”

Potter added that the timeline to file the amicus brief was also short. “Our opportunity to act was that day and time,” he explained. “We voted so that the Supreme Court would hear the case.”

As to Goldsmith’s petition being heard by the court, the county attorney explained that the chances are slim that that will happen. “The Supreme Court only accepts certain things and the deadline to submit information has passed,” Bryner indicated. “The rules are very stringent and if these rules aren’t followed, then they won’t accept it. I don’t see a way the commissioners can file it, even if they wanted to.”

Hopes concluded the discussion by thanking Goldsmith for her presentation before the commission. “Thanks for coming and presenting the information and petition,” he stated. “I’m not against you as a person. I voted for this to go before the Supreme Court to allow this case to move forward. I apologize that this is hurtful. I want a good sense of love and respect between everyone in Carbon County.”

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