(Photo: Screenshot via ABC 4 News)
A Utah man lost 25 pounds while on a hunger strike since late December in protest of the state's recent legalization of same-sex marriage.
Trestin Meacham, a 35-year-old Mormon living in Utah, embarked on a hunger fast beginning Dec. 21, one day after U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby ruled the state's 2004 ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, thus making Utah the 18th state, along with the District of Columbia, to recognize same-sex marriage.
"I'm very disappointed," Meacham, who has been surviving only on water and the occasional vitamin since Dec. 21, told ABC 4 News. "You can start a blog and you can complain on social networks until you're blue in the face and nothing will happen but actions speak louder than words and I'm taking action."
Meacham told the local news outlet that since he began his fast, he has lost a total of 25 pounds, and he has had to punch an extra hole in his belt to hold his pants up.
On his personal bog, Meacham calls on Utah to practice the theory of nullification to reverse Judge Shelby's legalization of same-sex marriage. Under the theory, the state of Utah could have ultimate authority over its matters, rather than the federal government. Meacham argues on his blog that the state's recent legalization of same-sex marriage is going against the will of Utah citizens, who approved the 2004 constitutional ban on the unions by a 66 percent majority vote.
"This has nothing to do with hatred of a group of people. I have friends and relatives who practice a homosexual lifestyle and I treat them with the same respect and kindness that I would anyone. This is about religious freedom, and an out of control federal government," Meacham writes on his blog.
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay on Utah's legalization of same-sex marriage while the state appeals Shelby's ruling in the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Since Shelby's ruling effectively legalized same-sex marriage on Dec. 20, over 900 same-sex couples have flocked to their local county clerk to receive a marriage license.
The justices said in a brief statement on Monday that they chose to put a stay on same-sex marriage to "minimize the enormous disruption to the state and its citizens of potentially having to 'unwind' thousands of same-sex marriages." If an appeals court does overturn Shelby's ruling, it is unclear what will happen to the same-sex marriage licenses that have already been issued.
Meacham took to his Facebook page late Monday morning, posting a photo of himself eating yogurt to announce that he had given up his 15-day fast following the Supreme Court's order. He told The Daily Beast that next time he chooses to protest something, he's going to "make the ultimate sacrifice" by giving up football, as he promised his fiancé he would only go on a fast once.
Meacham is not the only Utah resident who protested the legalization of same-sex marriage. Some counties, including Box Elder, Utah, Piute and San Juan, held out on issuing same-sex marriage licenses in spite of Shelby's ruling, ultimately agreeing to issue the licenses only after Gov. Gary Herbert ordered them to do so.
Additionally, a group of Utah residents opposed to same-sex marriage gathered near the state's capital of Salt Lake City this past weekend to protest same-sex marriage legalization. The group called for an "uprising" among Utah citizens, with one protester, Cherilyn Eager, saying: "We need people to stand up and speak out. We need to get noisy. We need some outrage."