Utah’s Marriage Law: What Went Wrong in the Utah AG’s Office?

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Bob Smith, AG candidate

Bob Smith, AG candidate

URGENT ALERT: Contact Utah Governor Gary Herbert ASAP online or by phone by Monday morning, December 23, 2013 and ask him to appoint Bob Smith as Attorney General. You can leave a message online right now here or call 801-538-1000 or 800-705-2464.

Governor Herbert has expressed his concern about the ruling and acknowledged that the AG office needs a strong and qualified leader.  Read on to learn more about why the most qualified is candidate Bob Smith, not merely to address this immediate issue, but as an all-around qualified candidate.

Why American Leadership Fund is endorsing Bob Smith

On Friday in the early afternoon I received an unexpected phone call from KSL-TV wanting to interview me live on the spot regarding the “federal court judge’s ruling striking down Amendment 3.”

Frankly, I was finally setting aside time for some Christmas preparation and had not been listening to the news. I researched the details of what had just happened and called KSL back, and my day was upside down from there on. Several interviews later, I began to feel the impact of what had just happened.

Utah is now only the second state to fall victim to a federal judge’s over-reach and activism to overturn a state constitutional amendment protecting marriage between a man and a woman. California was the first.

More Needs Cleaning Up Than the AG Office

I also learned that the embattled Attorney General’s office was in disarray because of scandals that erupted against recently resigned AG John Swallow that began immediately after he was sworn in nearly a year ago, and that forced his resignation November 21, 2013.

It is true that the Utah AG office has needed cleaning up long before John Swallow was elected.  Perhaps it’s a coincidence (or not?) that Swallow was the only Attorney General in recent memory that was willing to defend Utah’s marriage law against a constitutional challenge that he was the one that was finally nailed. Yes, it could be speculation, but it is plausible that *someone* worked overtime to force Swallow to leave his post similar to the hatchet job former Arizona governor Evan Mecham faced years ago.

What needs cleaning up as much as the AG office is a media ethic gone bad that now believes it is the new Judge and Jury.  Trial by media is a dangerous precedent.  Whether or not Swallow is innocent or guilty is not the greatest concern.  Consider this:  How does a citizen get a fair trial when the state legislature funds over $2 million of our tax dollars to crush that citizen, knowing full well that he did not have the funds to match the coming legal tsunami.  He who has the gold, rules.

Both the legal and media industries should be under the same microscope as the one under which they are putting this one man.  They need to use restraint and consider updating – or following – their ethical codes, as well as the Bill of Rights.

A Weak Defense: MIA – Democratic Pro-Gay Marriage Solicitor

Although the AG’s office knew the case against Utah’s marriage law – Amendment 3 – was before the Federal District court, it had done little to prepare an immediate appeal and stay. Instead, it was scrambling to get documents together after the ruling was issued, and it was not until the end of the day that the appeal and request for a stay was out the door. It will be received and reviewed on Monday.  Too little, too late.

Governor Herbert also expressed his concern about the judge’s activist approach and implied that the Attorney General’s office needs an attorney strong on this issue.

You should know that the Utah Solicitor General, Bridget Romano, a pro-gay marriage Democrat, is the attorney in the Utah AG’s office responsible for these civil appeals. She was missing in action in her duty to defend this challenge to Utah’s law. Is there any question why that may have been?

The defense was weak. It did not even bring up religious liberties. Most outrageous was that the state could not find one connection between preserving marriage between a man and a woman and the impact on a child when virtually every credible social science study shows that a home with a mom and a dad – married – is by far the best environment for raising a stable child.

Yet, from the state’s defense, the Court, Judge Shelby, did not find any rational reason the Utah law should stand.  In the brief, the Court stated:

“In its briefing and at oral argument, the State was unable to articulate a specific connection between its prohibition on same-sex marriage and any of its stated legitimate interests.  At most, the State asserted:  ‘We just simply don’t know.’”

This is an indictment of the lack of energy, conviction, commitment and duty to defend our law with the best arguments available. The Utah AG office under the direction of acting Attorney General Brian Tarbet was embarrassingly unprepared and simply dropped the ball.  We need a different tone in this office.

Chaos and Religious Liberty in the Balance

Meanwhile over 120 same-sex couples in Salt Lake County were lined up and got their marriage licenses. A minister from the First Baptist Church was on hand to marry anyone with a license. More are to come Monday morning.

Then, in Utah County two female clerks courageously defied the Court order and denied same-sex couples licenses. In Weber County security concerns prevented licensing until Monday.

The Obama Administration has become famous for issuing major edicts on the Friday before Christmas, an affront to Christian adherents. However, this was a direct attack on religious liberty. District Court Judge Robert Shelby, an Obama appointee, was all too eager to perpetuate the President’s tradition.

Not only was it the Friday before Christmas, it was also coincidentally the final day Utah Governor Gary Herbert had set to interview and select an AG replacement, to be announced Monday.

The Perfect Storm for Candidate Bob Smith

As a member of the Republican State Central Committee, I vetted each of the candidates and believe that each had strengths in their own individual ways.

However, in light of what Utah is now facing with this new federally-imposed law, and other similar complex and vicious religious liberties challenges to come, more than ever we need the Governor to appoint the candidate that has a clear and strong track record and experience defending those issues in the Court. The definition of marriage, whether we will continue to protect the best environment for raising children and whether the First Amendment – religious liberty – will continue to be the rule of law is now front and center for Utah – and consequently for the nation.

Although it’s a small state, in this case, as Utah goes, so goes the nation. That Court ruling has set the precedent that other states will use to anchor their arguments for legalizing same-sex marriage.

The national headlines are brimming with “Utah’s Marriage Law Overturned” and citizens outside of Utah who consider this to be one of the most religious and conservative states are scratching their heads.

After analyzing the records and backgrounds of all three candidates, we are urging you to contact Governor Herbert by Monday morning, December 23, 2013 and ask him to appoint Bob Smith. I know Sean Reyes and think he is a bright attorney and an honorable man. Brian Tarbet has had a career with the military, but he has been too closely attached to the mess in the AG office, did not speak up when he could have and he has not demonstrated that he would go to bat on this issue.

Bob Smith’s resume is what is needed right now. It’s impeccable and filled with the experience needed for the challenges ahead. Among his credits includes the draft of an amicus brief for the defense of Prop 8 in California and he now oversees religious liberties at Brigham Young University.  Although his background is diversified, this is the issue front and center for Utah right now and he is the only candidate with this expertise.

Watch this video and then go to his website to see and learn more about his views on a variety of other issues:

If you get this message before then, you can leave a message online right now here or call 801-538-1000 or 800-705-2464.

Additional information and research will be posted here to help clear the confusion on the debate surrounding the legalization of same sex marriage.  If you want to receive updates on that issues and a variety of others, click on the subscribe button above.  Your generous donation will allow us to continue to educate and advocate for conservative causes. To donate click on the donate button at the top right.


  1. Paul Chamberlain - December 22, 2013

    Please appoint Bob Smith immediately as attorney general to stop this same sex marriage mess.  Thank you .

    Paul Chamberlain

  2. Laree Taylor - December 23, 2013

    Please appoint Bob smith as attorney general immediately to stop this same sex marriage mess. Thankyou.
    Laree Taylor

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