Federal court rejects Utah man’s legal bid to marry his laptop
A man seeking to marry his laptop in Utah has had his bid rejected – after the state argued it’s not old enough.
Chris Sevier, a prolific anti-LGBT activist known for filing a string of lawsuits targeting LGBT rights, had filed a bizarre challenge in the state of Utah.
The activist had filed a challenge to Utah’s marriage laws after he was denied the right to marry his MacBook – claiming there was no impediment to him doing so after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of same-sex marriage.
However, his case was this week dismissed by the United States District Court for the District of Utah, after the state filed a defence pointing out that his shiny new laptop was under the legal age of consent for marriage in Utah, which is 15.
David Nuffer, a United States District Judge, smacked down Sevier’s challenge – which had taken issue with Supreme Court equal marriage ruling Obergefell v. Hodges, as well as the 2003 ruling that struck down sodomy laws, Lawrence v. Texas.
He accepted the recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Evelyn J. Furse, who had penned a scathing judgment smacking down Sevier.
The magistrate judge had written: “The Sevier Plaintiffs seek to compel the Court to grant them the right to marry an inanimate object and more than one person.
“[But] review of the relief the Sevier Plaintiffs’ seek clearly shows that their objective in seeking such relief is to undermine same-sex marriage and gay rights and does not constitute a real request for relief.”
The recommendation continues: “The Sevier Plaintiffs make multiple requests for the Court to enter declaratory judgments pronouncing marriage as only between one man and one woman.
“The Sevier Plaintiffs’ statements regarding the obscenity of polygamy and marriage to objects demonstrate that they brought this legal action to settle a philosophical dispute rather than an actual legal dispute
“The Sevier Plaintiffs do not have a ‘real and substantial’ desire for the relief.”
Representing the state of Utah, assistant Attorney General David Wolf had pointed out the laptop was not of legal age of consent.
He wrote: “Under Utah law, Sevier’s computer is not a party legally capable of entering into a solemnized marriage and cannot meet the consent requirement of the unsolemnized marriage statute.
“Even if that were not the case, unless Sevier’s computer has attained the age of fifteen it is too young to marry under Utah law.
“Therefore, Sevier cannot satisfy even the most basic requirements for a valid marriage under Utah law. His factual allegations are not plausible, and his claims should be summarily dismissed.”
The state response also affirmed that same-sex marriage is not the same thing as marrying an inanimate object.
Sevier plans to appeal.
The activist is a serial litigant who has filed a number of similar legal cases in other states.
Despite his apparent extreme anti-LGBT beliefs, he has close ties to a number of state-level Republican lawmakers, penning proposed legislation that was submitted by GOP officials in two states.
Six GOP lawmakers sponsored Sevier’s proposed ‘Marriage and Constitution Restoration Act’ bill in the South Carolina House last month.
The bill appears to be an attempt to segregate same-sex marriage from heterosexual unions in the wake of the 2015 Supreme Court decision that brought equal marriage to all 50 states.
The proposed law seeks to define “any form of marriage that does not involve one man and one woman” as a “parody marriage” and blocks legal recognition of such unions.
Six GOP lawmakers, Representatives Steven Wayne Long, Bill Chumley, Mike Burns, John McCravy, Josiah Magnuson and Rick Martin, are signed on as sponsors of the law.
A near-identical bill was submitted in Wyoming, sponsored by GOP lawmakers Lars Lone and Roy Edwards.