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Lawsuit filed challenging Wyoming’s ban on same-sex marriage

Wednesday, March 5, 2014
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Four same-sex couples and Wyoming Equality filed a lawsuit in state court in Cheyenne on Wednesday challenging Wyoming’s laws that prohibit same-sex couples from marrying and recognition of marriages of same-sex couples performed outside the state.

wyomingThe lawsuit argues that the state’s marriage laws violate the Wyoming Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and due process.

The plaintiffs include a university professor, a Major in the Army Reserve, a sheepherder, and an attorney, many of whom were born and raised in Wyoming.

The couples are 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 Equality is the state’s largest LGBT civil rights organization.

Cora Courage, who is the Clinical Director at the state psychiatric hospital and a Major in the Army Reserve, said: “As a member of the military, having the federal government recognize our marriage was a huge step forward, but Wyoming’s refusal to do the same has left our family without critical legal protections that many married couples are able to take for granted.”

Added NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter: “The law should support stable families, not make it harder for committed couples to support one another and protect their children. Barring same-sex couples from marriage causes great harm to these families and their children while helping no one.”

On Tuesday, March 4, 2014, former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson, a Wyoming Republican, joined other conservatives and Republicans from Western states in urging a federal appeals court to uphold a lower court ruling striking down Utah’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples.

The case is Courage v. Wyoming.

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