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Tenth Circuit rules in favor of freedom to marry in Utah
From press releases
2014-06-25

This article shared 2657 times since Wed Jun 25, 2014
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From ACLU

DENVER — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit declared that Utah's ban on marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional. This marks the first time that an appellate-level court has ruled on state marriage bans following the dismantling of a key section of the federal "Defense of Marriage Act ( DOMA )," and sets the stage for the Supreme Court to consider state-level laws.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Utah submitted a "friend of the court" brief in support of the challenge to the law. The ACLU also has a lawsuit in Utah federal court seeking recognition of the marriages of same-sex couples who were wed before the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily halted marriages from taking place.

"This is a proud day for everybody in the state of Utah, and everybody across the country, who supports marriage equality," said John Mejia, legal director of the ACLU of Utah. "Though there is still much to do, the journey to ensuring the freedom to marry for all just got a huge boost with today's decision."

The 10th Circuit includes Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico, the only state in the circuit that allows same-sex couples to marry. The precedent from today's ruling applies to all of these states: its effect, however, has been stayed pending an expected application by Utah for Supreme Court review.

The ACLU has brought additional challenges against similar laws in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, Oregon, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Alabama and lawsuits seeking recognition of legal marriages inMichigan, Missouri, Florida, and Ohio. Following the Supreme Court's decision striking down DOMA — a case in which the ACLU served as co-counsel to Edie Windsor — the ACLU launched the Out for Freedom campaign to achieve the freedom to marry for same-sex couples across the country.

"This is a significant step in the astounding progress that has been made in just a few years toward achieving dignity for all families," said Joshua Block, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Project. "Today's decision will hopefully be the first of several around the country that will eventually lead to all loving couples being able to commit to each other and take care of each other with the protections that only come with marriage."

For more information on the ACLU's Out for Freedom campaign, please visit www.aclu.org/out-freedom .

From NCLR

( Denver, CO, June 25, 2014 )—In a landmark decision today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled that Utah's ban on the freedom to marry for same-sex couples violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and due process.

Today's decision in Kitchen v. Herbert is the first federal appellate court ruling in a freedom to marry case since the United States Supreme Court ruled in June 2013 that the federal government must recognize the marriages of same-sex couples.

The case was brought by Utah couples Derek Kitchen and Moudi Sbeity, Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge, and Karen Archer and Kate Call. On December 20, 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby ruled that Utah's laws denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry violate the U.S. Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and due process. More than 1,000 same-sex couples married in Utah in the days following the ruling. Utah appealed the ruling to the Tenth Circuit, which heard oral argument in the case on April 10, 2014.

The couples are represented by the Salt Lake City law firm of Magleby & Greenwood, P.C. and by the National Center for Lesbian Rights ( NCLR ). Peggy Tomsic of Magleby & Greenwood presented oral argument on behalf of the plaintiff couples.

Said Tomsic: "Today's decision by the Tenth Circuit affirms the fundamental principles of equality and fairness and the common humanity of gay and lesbian people. As the Court recognized, these families are part of Utah's community, and equal protection requires that they be given the same legal protections and respect as other families in this state. The Court's ruling is a victory not only for the courageous couples who brought this case, but for our entire state and every state within the Tenth Circuit."

Added Kitchen: "We are overjoyed by the court's decision, which means so much to us, our family, and everyone who believes in justice and fairness. Since the lawsuit was filed last year, we have received so much support from so many people in our state, and we are now looking forward to the day when we will finally be married."

NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell stated: "Today's ruling marks the first time a federal court of appeals has ruled that excluding same-sex couples from the freedom to marry is unconstitutional. The Court makes clear that the promise of equality embedded in our revered U.S. Constitution includes the lives and loves of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans. That recognition marks an indelible milestone in our nation's journey to full inclusion—and one that will undoubtedly influence other courts in the months to come."

Press Conference

Plaintiffs and their legal team will hold a press conference at noon today at the law offices Magleby & Greenwood, P.C., 170 S Main St # 850, Salt Lake City, UT 84101.

Read the decision and learn more about the case at the link: www.nclrights.org/cases-and-policy/cases-and-advocacy/kitchen-v-herbert/ .


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