NCLR represented four same-sex couples and Wyoming Equality in a federal lawsuit seeking an immediate order directing state officials to comply with two decisions 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 U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of due process and equal protection. The U.S. Supreme Court on October 6, 2014 let those appeals court decisions stand, meaning that all states within the Tenth Circuit, including Wyoming, were required to comply with those decisions.
On October 17, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming ruled in favor of the freedom to marry and granted plaintiffs’ request. On October 21, 2014, state officials announced they would not appeal the decision, allowing marriages to immediately begin.
Each of the plaintiff couples wished to be married in Wyoming or to have their existing marriage respected by the State of Wyoming. They included 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 were Brie 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 were represented by Cheyenne attorney Tracy Zubrod, the law firm of Arnold & Porter LLP, the law firm of Rathod Mohamedbahi LLC, and NCLR.
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.