Four Wyoming couples file lawsuit seeking the freedom to marry
March 06, 2014
On March 5, the National Center for Lesbian Rights filed a new lawsuit in state court on behalf of Wyoming Equality and four same-sex couples seeking the freedom to marry or respect for marriages legally performed in other states. The case, Courage v. Wyoming, is one of nearly 50 cases currently making their way through the state and federal judicial system in the United States.
The plaintiffs include two same-sex couples who are legally married, two who wish to marry in Wyoming, and the state's largest organization dedicated to working toward equality for all LGBT people in the state, Wyoming Equality.
The couples include Cora Courage and Wyoma “Nonie” Proffit, who work as a Major in the Army Reserve and a part-time sheepherder, respectively, and married in Iowa in 2009; Carl Oleson and Rob Johnston, who have been together for 16 years and married four years ago in Canada; Anne Guzzo and Bonnie Robinson, who are unmarried but have been together for more than 4 years; and Ivan Williams and Chuck Killion, an attorney and real estate developer, respectively, from Cheyenne.
One of the plaintiffs, Anne Guzzo, explained yesterday:
I love Wyoming. This state has always been my home; even when I left for graduate school, I knew that I would come back. And as much as I love this state, it is frustrating to live in the “Equality State” and to be treated differently by the government because of who I love. It scares me that in times of crisis we will have to rely on the kindness of strangers to respect our relationship because the State of Wyoming will not let Bonnie and me share in the responsibilities and protections of marriage. I look forward to the day that we will be able to marry before our family and friends in the state we call home.
The new lawsuit joins a total of 50 active lawsuits in 27 states where same-sex couples have joined together to file lawsuits seeking the freedom to marry and urging their state to find that anti-marriage laws and constitutional amendments limiting the freedom to marry violate the United States Constitution. In six of these states - Oklahoma, Utah, Ohio, Nevada, Kentucky, and Texas - the lawsuit is at the Circuit Court of Appeals level.