Next Week: Freedom to Marry in the Mountain West


What to expect and how the Utah marriage case fits into the national picture

Press Contact:
Angela Dallara
Media Relations Manager, Freedom to Marry

New York – Next week a three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver is set to hear a significant case on the freedom to marry for gay couples. The case, originating out of Utah, is full of firsts: the first victory to come out of a deep-red state (now home to at least 1,300 legally married gay couples); the first freedom to marry case to be heard at the federal appellate level since the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year; and the first of a wave of federal appellate arguments and rulings to come over the next few months.

“What may well be the penultimate chapter in the freedom to marry movement begins next week in the Mountain West,” said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry. “We’re hopeful the federal appellate courts reaffirm what nine out of nine federal judges in recent months, numerous state attorneys general and other key leaders on both sides of the aisle, and a super-majority of Americans have all come to understand: marriage discrimination is unconstitutional.

The case, Kitchen v. Herbert, will be heard on April 10. In December, a federal district court judge in Utah ruled in favor of the freedom to marry, striking down the state’s marriage ban. For 16 days, same-sex couples duly paid for marriage licenses and got legally married in Utah, until the Supreme Court granted a stay pending the appeal.

Friend-of-the-court briefs in the Utah case have been filed by prominent Republicans, businesses, people of faith, and the nation’s leading medical organizations, as well as Freedom to Marry. For years polling has shown a strong majority of Americans support marriage for gay couples. This includes majorities of Americans nationally, in every region of the country including the West, and Republicans under age 30. The briefs and polling can be found at

Nine out of nine federal district court judges so far in recent months have drawn on the constitutional clarity provided in the Windsor case, holding marriage discrimination unconstitutional.

“Freedom to Marry’s aim is not just to get to the Supreme Court, but to win in the Supreme Court,” added Wolfson. “As we reach the federal appellate courts with momentum and majority support in every region of the country, it’s clear that America is ready for the freedom to marry.”

Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage nationwide. We are pursuing our Roadmap to Victory by working to win the freedom to marry in more states, grow the national majority for marriage, and end federal marriage discrimination. We partner with individuals and organizations across the country to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage and the protections, responsibilities, and commitment that marriage brings.