Utah Constitutional Amendment 3 was a controversial amendment to the Utah state constitution designed to define marriage in the state of Utah. It passed in the November 2 2004 election, as did similar amendments in ten other states.

The amendment reads as follows:

  1. Marriage consists only of the legal union between a man and a woman.
  2. No other domestic union, however denominated, may be recognized as a marriage or given the same or substantially equivalent legal effect.


The proposed amendment attracted considerable controversy in Utah. Both pro and anti amendment groups formed to sway voters. The "Don't Amend Alliance" organized in spring, much earlier than pro-amendment groups. The Alliance raised hundreds of thousands dollars, catching supporters of the amendment by surprise. They responded with the "Yes! For Marriage" group, which only began a coordinated campaign on October 5. Nonetheless, latent support for the amendment appeared high with over 60% support for the Amendment in a Salt Lake Tribune poll conducted early October.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS church), though not officially endorsing the amendment, publicized a statement in July endorsing constitutional amendments that define marriage. On October 18 they issued a revised statement with the added text, "any other sexual relations, including between persons of the same gender, undermine the divinely created institution of family." Supporters of the amendment asserted the second statement showed specific LDS support for Amendment 3. Others, including moderately conservative Latter-day Saint KSL radio talk show host Doug Wright believed that since the new statement applied only to "sexual relations," it highlighted precisely how Amendment 3 went too far.

Both the Catholic and Episcopal churches publicly opposed the amendment.

Three candidates for Utah attorney general, including incumbent Republican Mark Shurtleff, issued a joint statement opposing the amendment on August 6. In many other political races, notably the gubernatorial race, candidates weighed in on this issue.

On November 2, 2004, Amendment 3 was approved by 66% of Utahns and rejected in two counties in a closer than expected race. Governor Huntsman proposed recirpocal benefits for gay couples in reaction. The reciprocal beneficiary measure failed in the Utah Senate during the 2005 legislative session on a ten in favor to eighteen opposed poll.

Arguments for Amendment 3Edit

Supporters of Amendment 3 said that the amendment would do three things:

  1. Prevent state courts from making a ruling that current Utah marriage legislation unconstitutional.
  2. Prevent state courts from forcing recognition of out-of-state marriages.
  3. Prevent the creation of "counterfeit marriages", such as civil unions.

They also said the amendment would not hurt heterosexual marriage, common law marriages, or the right to will property to whomever one wishes.

Arguments against Amendment 3Edit

Those opposed to the amendment say that section one of the amendment is completely unnecessary since Utah already outlaws same-sex marriage. They also say the second part of the amendment "goes too far". They feel that it would invalidate common law marriage as well as reducing rights to will property to whomever one chooses.


On November 2, 2004 Amendment 3 passed by a margin of 65.8% to 33.2%. Results were 593,297 votes for and 307,488 votes against the amendment. The amendment went into effect on January 1, 2005. Legal challenges are expected.

County Yes Yes vote No No vote Final outcome
Wasatch metropolitan area:
Davis 71% (75,780) 29% (31,524) Yes Yes
Salt Lake 54% (190,364) 46% (159,605) Yes Yes
Summit 39% (5,696) 61% (9,079) No No
Tooele 64% (10,399) 36% (5,886) Yes Yes
Utah 82% (119,948) 18% (26,290) Yes Yes
Weber 62% (43,885) 38% (26,894) Yes Yes
Rest of state:
Beaver 76% (1,851) 24% (572) Yes Yes
Box Elder 76% (13,707) 24% (4,246) Yes Yes
Cache 75% (29,137) 25% (9,832) Yes Yes
Carbon 61% (4,929) 39% (3,101) Yes Yes
Daggett 72% (340) 28% (130) Yes Yes
Duchesne 80% (4,288) 20% (1,076) Yes Yes
Emery 77% (3,483) 23% (1,039) Yes Yes
Garfield 77% (1,599) 23% (467) Yes Yes
Grand 46% (1,840) 54% (2,163) No No
Iron 78% (11,625) 22% (3,364) Yes Yes
Juab 74% (2,437) 26% (870) Yes Yes
Kane 72% (2,080) 28% (792) Yes Yes
Millard 81% (3,844) 19% (894) Yes Yes
Morgan 75% (2,866) 25% (941) Yes Yes
Piute 79% (584) 21% (159) Yes Yes
Rich 76% (772) 24% (248) Yes Yes
San Juan 78% (3,243) 22% (897) Yes Yes
Sanpete 79% (6,518) 21% (1,753) Yes Yes
Sevier 80% (5,957) 20% (1,498) Yes Yes
Uintah 77% (7,337) 23% (2,135) Yes Yes
Wasatch 67% (4,907) 33% (2,429) Yes Yes
Washington 78% (32,946) 22% (9,217) Yes Yes
Wayne 71% (935) 29% (387) Yes Yes

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

Template:Same-sex marriage in the United States

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