Friday, October 17, 2014

Marriage Equality Comes to Wyoming

Federal Court Strikes Down Gay Marriage Ban in Wyoming

CHEYENNE, WY – Today, U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl declared Wyoming’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The State of Wyoming has until October 23rd to decide if it will appeal the decision. Governor Mead indicated last night that the state would not appeal. 

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Wyoming celebrates this decision. Wyomingites will soon have the freedom to marry the person they love without regard to gender. The ruling also requires Wyoming to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples performed in other states.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court paved the way for this decision when it declined to hear appeals from states seeking to uphold bans on same-sex marriages. This included Denver-based Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals rulings from this summer.

“Gay couples in Wyoming will soon be legally entitled to share the pride and security that comes with a marriage license,” says Jennifer Horvath, staff attorney with the ACLU of Wyoming. “It is a historic and exciting day in the Equality State.”

The ACLU has been working for the rights of LGBT people since 1936, when it brought its first gay rights case. The organization filed the first freedom to marry lawsuit for same-sex couples in the nation in 1970, represented Edie Windsor in her successful challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act in June 2013, and filed marriage lawsuits on behalf of same-sex couples pending in several other states.

“People can get married, but might not share their happy news for fear of getting fired or kicked out of their home,” Horvath said. “Discrimination against gay people is still legal in Wyoming. Where people work, live and play should not be dictated by sexual orientation. By extending existing nondiscrimination protections, we can all enjoy equal rights in the Equality State.”

Read Judge Skavdahl’s ruling.