WATCH: Plaintiffs in landmark Utah marriage case get engaged
February 18, 2014
This weekend, on Valentine's Day, Derek Kitchen gave his partner Moudi Sbeity a romantic night to remember in their home of Salt Lake City, Utah when he got down on one knee and asked for his hand in marriage.
Of course, Derek and Moudi have been talking about marriage for months now - in fact, they are one of the couples who brought a lawsuit against the state of Utah seeking the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in the Beehive State. In December, U.S. District Judge Shelby ruled in their case, Kitchen v. Herbert, and found that denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry is unconstitutional. For nearly three weeks - until the U.S. Supreme Court granted the opposition's request for a stay in the ruling - same-sex couples across Utah had the freedom to marry, and in that time, more than 1,300 couples received marriage licenses.
Derek and Moudi weren't one of those couples - they are waiting until their marriage rights are 100% secure, once and for all, but as they continue working on their case - which faces a hearing by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on April 10, 2014 - they couldn't help but join in on the romance and get officially engaged.
Derek proposed at the Equality Ball, which benefitted Marriage Equality USA and Restore Our Humanity, the legal group who brought the historic case to court. Since the December 20 ruling, the National Center for Lesbian Rights has taken on the case as co-counsel. In his proposal, Derek explained:
Although we've been plaintiffs in this case, we haven't been able to do the traditional thing people do with marriage - a proposal. When we decided that we were going to sue the state, we knew that it was the right thing to do - and that's how Moudi and I make decisions. We lie in bed, and we talk about it, and we express our concerns and excitements and we figure it out together. That's how decisions are made in our house. So we never went through with the formal process.
And so, because I have a platform tonight, and because I'm feeling a little bit excited about where we're headed, into the 10th Circuit this April, I wanted to offer you a ring - and I want to ask you if you will make me the happiest man ever.
Watch the proposal below: