Same-sex marriage may soon be on it way it the equality state.
Four same-sex couples and Wyoming Equality have filed a lawsuit challenging Wyoming’s statute barring same-sex couples from marrying and the state’s refusal to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who married in other states.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights filed the lawsuit Courage v. Wyoming with the Wyoming First Judicial District Court in the County of Laramie on behalf of the couples. The suit is raising the argument that the current laws in Wyoming are a violation of the states Constitution which guarantees all citizens equal protection under the law.
The named couples in the suit include Cora Courage and Wyoma “Nonie” Proffit, of Evanston; Carl Oleson and Rob Johnston, of Casper; Anne Guzzo and Bonnie Robinson, of Laramie; and Ivan Williams and Chuck Killion, of Cheyenne.
“Wyoming has a proud history of being the Equality State, and its refusal to allow same-sex couples to marry is contrary to the core values of our state," said Jeran Artery, chairman of Wyoming Equality, the state’s largest LGBQT advocacy group, "The couples in this case, and all same-sex couples in Wyoming, deserve to be treated with equal fairness and respect, including having the same freedom to marry that others enjoy.”
Wyoming does not have an official ban on marriage equality written into its Constitution but it does offer the opportunity for same-sex couples to marry within the state nor does it provide any other legal protections for same-sex couples such as a civil union or domestic partnership.
“The law should support stable families, not make it harder for committed couples to support one another and protect their children," Shannon Minter, Legal Director for NCLR explained, "Barring same-sex couples from marriage causes great harm to these families and their children while helping no one.”
Attempts in the past have been made to establish legal unions for same-sex couples but have failed. With the current shift of public opinion around the nation regarding same-sex marriage, supporters of marriage equality are hoping that this first attempt within the state’s judicial system will succeed in altering the states unequal marriage laws.