Achieving LGBTQ Equality Through Litigation, Legislation, Policy, and Public Education

Case Summary & History


Case: Kitchen v. Herbert

STATUS: Victory, Utah


Utah marriage equality case plaintiffs (L-R) Kody Partridge and Laurie Wood, Kate Call and Karen Archer, and Derek Kitchen and Moudi Sbeity.

Three same-sex couples filed a federal lawsuit challenging Utah’s laws prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying and refusing to respect the legal marriages of same-sex couples who married in other states.

The lawsuit argues that Utah’s laws barring same-sex couples from marrying and prohibiting the state from respecting the marriages of same-sex couples who married in other states violates the United States Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process.

On December 20, 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby ruled that Utah’s ban on marriage by same-sex couples is unconstitutional. The State of Utah has appealed that decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

The couples, who live in Salt Lake and Wasatch Counties, are Derek Kitchen and Moudi Sbeity, Karen Archer and Kate Call, and Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge. They are represented by Peggy Tomsic of the Salt Lake City law firm of Magleby & Greenwood, P.C., Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders Legal Director Gary Buseck and Civil Rights Project Director Mary Bonauto, Neal Katyal of the law firm of Hogan Lovells, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).

On June 25, 2014, the  Tenth Circuit ruled that Utah’s ban on the freedom to marry for same-sex couples violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process.  The decision is the first federal appellate court ruling in a freedom to marry case since the United States Supreme Court ruled in June 2013 that the federal government must recognize the marriages of same-sex couples.

On August 5, 2014, the State of Utah asked the Supreme Court of the United States to review the Tenth Circuit’s decision. The Supreme Court on October 6, 2014 declined to review the Tenth Circuit Court decision striking down Utah’s marriage ban for same-sex couples, thereby permitting that decision to stand, as well as a similar decision from Oklahoma. As a result, same-sex couples can now marry in Utah and Oklahoma and will soon be able to marry in every state in the Tenth Circuit.

On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in NCLR’s Tennessee marriage case and cases from three other states affirming the freedom to marry in every state and U.S. territory.

Read all U.S. Supreme Court and Tenth Circuit Court briefs for Utah marriage case.

Read Utah plaintiffs’ brief asking U.S. Supreme Court to hear case.

Read the State of Utah’s Petition for U.S. Supreme Court to review Tenth Circuit decision.

Read the Tenth Circuit’s decision.

Read the Utah Plaintiffs’ brief.

Listen to the oral argument before Tenth Circuit.


Read More From the Plaintiffs:


Kody Partridge (left) and Laurie Wood.


Kate Call (left) and Karen Archer. (Photo by Restore Our Humanity)








Derek Kitchen (back) and Moudi Sbeity.





















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