Kitchen v. Herbert

What's Happening:

On June 25, 2014, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals voted in favor of the freedom to marry in Utah, upholding a lower court ruling that declared it unconstitutional for Utah to deny the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. The state of Utah has indicated it will eventually appeal to the United States Supreme Court, but that it may first ask for an en banc hearing before the entire 10th Circuit Appeals Court. The case was brought by by the firm of Magleby & Greenwood, P.C., on behalf of same-sex couples, and co-counseled on appeal with the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Case History:

On March 23, 2013, private lawyers at Magleby & Greenwood, P.C. filed a federal lawsuit in the 10th Circuit on behalf of three same-sex couples in Utah challenging laws in Utah that restrict the freedom to marry to different-sex couples. In January 2014, the National Center for Lesbian Rights signed onto the case as co-counsel. 

The plaintiffs in the case are Kate Call & Karen Archer, who married in Iowa in 2011; Derek L. Kitchen & Moudi D. Sbeity; and Laurie Wood & Kody Partridge. The defendants include Utah Gov. Herbert and the state Attorney General.

"The State’s current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason." - Judge Robert J. Shelby

On December 20, 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby, ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, striking down the ban on same-sex couples from marrying in Utah. Judge Shelby wrote, "Applying the law as it is required to do, the court holds that Utah’s prohibition on same- sex marriage conflicts with the United States Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process under the law. The State’s current laws deny its gay and lesbian citizens their fundamental right to marry and, in so doing, demean the dignity of these same-sex couples for no rational reason. Accordingly, the court finds that these laws are unconstitutional."

The judge did not issue a stay in the ruling, so same-sex couples were able to marry immediately after the order came down. Over the next three weeks, the Attorney General and Governor of Utah sought to appeal the ruling, filing requests to Judge Shelby and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. All of the requests for a stay were denied until January 6, when the United States Supreme Court issued a temporary stay on the ruling as the state's appeal of the decision is considered. 

On April 10, a three-judge panel at the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments. Listen to the oral arguments HERE

Evans v. Utah

What's Happening:

On May 19, 2014, U.S. District Court judge Dale Kimball ruled in this federal case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union that the state of Utah must respect the nearly 1,300 marriage licenses it issued to same-sex couples in December and January of this year.

He wrote, "The court has already weighed and balanced the harms involved in issuing its preliminary injunction. Plaintiffs have demonstrated existing clear and irreparable harms if an injunction is not in place."

A 21-day stay is in place, so the state of Utah could still appeal the decision. 

Case History:

On January 21, 2014, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of four same-sex couples in Utah who legally married in the state following a federal judge's ruling in Kitchen v. Herbert (above) that struck down anti-marriage laws in the state. More than 1,300 same-sex couples married in those weeks, and this lawsuit seeks recognition for these licenses - which have already been extended respect, as they rightfully should, by the United States government. 

After the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the December 20 ruling, Governor Herbert and state officials in Utah ordered state agencies to place the Utah marriages "on hold," meaning that these couples would not be respected as married as the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals considers the case later this year. 

Oral arguments were held on March 12. 

The plaintiffs include Matt and Tony, who are raising a son together; Sacia and JoNell, who have been together for 13 years; Donald and Fritz, together for more than 21 years; and Marina and Elenor, who would like to begin raising a family in their home state. Meet the plaintiffs HERE

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