Case Summary & History
Case: Courage v. Wyoming
STATUS: Pending, Wyoming
On March 5, 2014, four same-sex couples and Wyoming Equality filed a lawsuit in state court in Cheyenne challenging Wyoming’s laws that prohibit same-sex couples from marrying and refuse to respect the legal marriages of same-sex couples who married in other states.
The couples include a university professor, a Major in the Army Reserve, a sheepherder, and an attorney. Many of the Plaintiffs were born and raised in Wyoming. The lawsuit challenges Wyoming’s statute barring same-sex couples from marrying and the state’s refusal to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who married in other states, arguing that they violate the Wyoming Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process.
The couples are Cora Courage and Wyoma “Nonie” Proffit of Evanston, Carl Oleson and Rob Johnston of Casper, Anne Guzzo and Bonnie Robinson of Laramie, and Ivan Williams and Chuck Killion of Cheyenne. Wyoming Equality is the state’s largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Wyoming’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Its members include same-sex couples throughout the state.
The four couples and Wyoming Equality are represented by Cheyenne attorney Tracy Zubrod, the law firm of Arnold & Porter LLP, the law firm of Rathod Mohamedbahi LLC, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).
On July 1, 2014, the plaintiffs asked a state district court to declare that the state’s ban on marriage equality is unconstitutional. The four couples and Equality Wyoming filed a motion asking the court to rule that Wyoming’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples violates the equal protection and due process guarantees of the Wyoming Constitution. A hearing has been set for December 15, 2014.
About the Plaintiffs
Cora Courage & Nonie Proffit
Cora Courage and Nonie Proffit, of Evanston, have been together for over nine years and were married in Iowa in 2009. Cora is the Clinical Director at the psychiatric hospital and a Major in the Army Reserve. Nonie is a part-time librarian and sheepherder for their family’s ranch.
Carl Oleson & Rob Johnston
Carl Oleson and Rob Johnston, of Casper, have been together for sixteen years and were married in Canada in July 2010. Carl manages a retail store and Rob is the program director for Project ReGain, which teaches skills to people who are recovering from addiction.
Anne Guzzo & Bonnie Robinson
Anne Guzzo and Bonnie Robinson have
been together for four years and reside in Laramie. Anne is a professor of music composition and theory at the University of Wyoming in Laramie. Bonnie is a property manager.
Ivan Williams & Chuck Killion
Ivan Williams and Chuck Killion have been together for nearly two years and reside in Cheyenne. Ivan is an attorney. Chuck is a comptroller at a local construction and development company.
Wyoming Equality is the state’s largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Wyoming’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. The organization carries out that mission through public education, grassroots organizing, and advocacy with policymakers. Its members include same-sex couples throughout the state.