This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Support for same-sex marriage in Utah remains split, a new poll reveals, though a majority of Utahns believe the state's ban on gay and lesbian unions ultimately won't survive.
As the U.S. Supreme Court takes a look at a Utah lawsuit challenging a voter-approved state ban on same-sex marriage for the first time Monday, the gay rights advocacy group Freedom To Marry released a poll that it said shows most Utahns want the high court to hear Utah's case.
Seven other lawsuits posing similar questions from four other states will also be discussed by the court.
According to the poll, 67 percent of Utahns want the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the case. It would be Utah's last chance to revive its prohibition on same-sex marriage and the final word in the nation on whether states could outlaw gay and lesbian unions.
Although the court will first discuss the case on Monday, the justices could decide to postpone making any decision for weeks or months.
The justices have the discretion to hear Utah's case or another like it, combine cases, decline hearing any such case or sit and wait for another state's lawsuit to be appealed to the Supreme Court.
Both the state of Utah and the three plaintiff couples in the case have asked the high court to hear Utah's case. Several special interest groups including churches, businesses and other states have filed briefs with the court indicating that Utah's case would be the best to settle the question of states and same-sex marriage.
In the Freedom To Marry poll, Utahns were divided almost exactly over the question of whether same-sex couples should be allowed civil marriages: 49 percent said yes, while 48 percent said no.
Underpinning the support for same-sex marriage, according to the Benenson Strategy Group, which conducted the poll, was the fact that 70 percent of Utahns have a close friend or family member who is gay, and an overwhelming belief among married Utahns 94 percent that allowing gay couples to marry would have little to no impact on their own relationships.
More than one in five of those Utahns who said they do not support same-sex marriage said they would reconsider if they knew that churches, like the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, would not be required to perform or recognize the marriages of gay and lesbian couples.
Over time, 40 percent of respondents said they have become more open to the idea of same-sex marriages, while 38 percent said their views haven't changed.
Thirteen percent said their opinions have gone the other way they've become more against such unions over the last several years.