(Cheyenne, WY, October 7, 2014)—Today, four same-sex couples and Wyoming Equality filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the State of Wyoming’s refusal to permit same-sex couples to marry and to respect the legal marriages of same-sex couples who married in other states. The couples will ask the court for an immediate order directing state officials to comply with a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit establishing that a state’s refusal to allow same-sex couples to marry violates the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday let that appeals court decision stand, meaning that all states within the Tenth Circuit, including Wyoming, must comply with the decision.
The couples are Anne Guzzo and Bonnie Robinson of Laramie, Carl Oleson and Rob Johnston of Casper, Ivan Williams and Chuck Killion of Cheyenne, who previously filed a state-court lawsuit challenging Wyoming’s marriage ban. Also joining the lawsuit areBrie Barth and Shelly Montgomery of Carpenter, who attempted to obtain a marriage license in Wyoming after the Supreme Court decision but were refused. 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).
Said Wyoming Equality Executive Director Jeran Artery: “The Tenth Circuit has decided that the U.S. Constitution guarantees same-sex couples the freedom to marry, and the Supreme Court’s decision to let that ruling stand means that the Tenth Circuit’s decision is also the law in our state. Wyoming’s same-sex couples deserve to have their state treat them as it would treat any other family, and they deserve that freedom immediately.”
Added NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter: “With the Tenth Circuit’s decision now final and binding, there is no longer any legal basis for the State of Wyoming to continue to enforce its marriage ban, which serves only to harm and stigmatize one group of Wyoming families. All families deserve equal respect and protection, including same-sex couples and their children.”