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Washington • Sen. Mike Lee, a former U.S. Supreme Court clerk, slammed the high court's decision not to take up same-sex marriage cases from Utah and four other states, arguing unelected judges shouldn't be overturning individual states' wishes.

The Utah Republican, who worked under Associate Justice Samuel Alito, said he was disappointed by the decision, which allows same-sex marriages to resume in Utah and the other states once the circuit courts process the order.

"Nothing in the Constitution forbids a state from retaining the traditional definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman," Lee said in a statement. "Whether to change that definition is a decision best left to the people of each state — not to unelected, politically unaccountable judges. The Supreme Court owes it to the people of those states, whose democratic choices are being invalidated, to review the question soon and reaffirm that states do have that right."

Sen. Orrin Hatch, meanwhile, urged caution, noting that the petitions sent to the court regarding gay marriage will not be the last ones the justices receive.

"This issue is actively being litigated across the country and I believe that the court will eventually address it," said Hatch, a former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. As early as last May, Hatch had indicated he believed the legalization of same-sex marriage was inevitable, though he had predicted the Supreme Court would take the case and issue a ruling in 2015 that would "decide this issue once and for all."

Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, also said the high court should have taken up Utah's marriage appeal to give the sides their chance to argue their cases.

"I am disappointed," Stewart said, "that the Supreme Court has failed to provide certainty and clarity for Utahns on this issue."

Video: Trib Talks on same-sex marriage

On Tuesday at 12:15 p.m., Sen. Jim Dabakis and Rep. Kraig Powell will join Napier-Pearce to discuss the broad impact of Monday's decision and how state legislators will approach the legal revamp in January.

Watch this online video chat live at You can also join the discussion by sending questions and comments to the hashtag #TribTalk on Twitter and Google+ or texting 801-609-8059.