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Press Release

Family & Relationships

NCLR Joining Utah Marriage Equality Case

(San Francisco, CA, January 9, 2014)—The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) is pleased to announce that it is joining the law firm of Magleby & Greenwood, P.C., as counsel for the plaintiff couples in Kitchen v. Herbert, the lawsuit in which a federal judge recently struck down Utah’s ban on marriage by same–sex couples.  The State of Utah has appealed that ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.  NCLR will serve as co-counsel for the plaintiff couples in the appeal.

The case was brought by three same-sex couples in Utah: Derek Kitchen and Moudi Sbeity; Karen Archer and Kate Call; and Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge. On December 20, 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Robert J. Shelby ruled that Utah’s ban on marriage by same-sex couples violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process of law. The Tenth Circuit has ordered an expedited briefing schedule, with briefing to be completed by February 25, 2014.

Said Peggy Tomsic of Magleby & Greenwood, P.C.: “We believe it is in our clients’ best interest now that the case is on appeal, and particularly since it is on an expedited briefing schedule, to have a national organization with significant experience litigating and winning marriage equality cases to enhance our perspective and fire-power as we move forward.

We also wanted a national organization that has a real connection with Utah. Kate Kendell, NCLR’s Executive Director, was raised in Utah, worked here as a lawyer for many years, and has a daughter living here who finally had the opportunity to marry the love of her life when Judge Shelby issued his ruling.

I have known Kate for years. I know she and NCLR are committed to bringing equality to every gay and lesbian citizen in this country, and I know that Kate will work tirelessly to bring equality to her home state.”

Added NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell: “I am honored and humbled to have NCLR joining this landmark case as it moves to appeal. We are privileged to be working with Magleby & Greenwood and particularly my long-time colleague, Peggy Tomsic. This is an especially exhilarating moment in LGBT civil rights history and NCLR’s participation in such an important case in my home state is very gratifying.”

Learn more about the case.

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