Salt Lake Tribune names same-sex marriage plaintiffs ‘Utahns of the Year’

Plaintiffs challenging Utah's gay marriage ban, from left, Derek Kitchen, his partner Moudi Sbeity, Kate Call, her partner Karen Archer, Laurie Wood and her partner Kody Partridge stand together after leaving court following a hearing at the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Thursday, April 10, 2014. Brennan Linsley, AP

Plaintiffs challenging Utah's gay marriage ban, from left, Derek Kitchen, his partner Moudi Sbeity, Kate Call, her partner Karen Archer, Laurie Wood and her partner Kody Partridge stand together after leaving court following a hearing at the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Thursday, April 10, 2014.  Brennan Linsley, AP

Plaintiff couples challenging Utah‘s gay marriage ban (from left) Derek Kitchen and Moudi Sbeity, Kate Call and Karen Archer, and Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge, stand together after leaving court following a hearing at the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Thursday, April 10, 2014.

The Salt Lake Tribune, Utah’s largest daily newspaper, has named the three same-sex couples who successfully challenged the state’s gay marriage ban their “Utahns of the Year.”

In striking down the state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby wrote that the law “perpetuates inequality by holding that the families and relationships of same-sex couples are not now, nor ever will be, worthy of recognition.”

[…]

While Utahns were stunned — many happily so, others the polar opposite — there were six people, three couples, who perhaps didn’t think their cause would advance so quickly but were confident that they were on the right side of history. …

Because of these Utah plaintiffs — who bravely made public their most private lives — the state took an unlikely position among the vanguard in the biggest civil-rights movement of the day. Forever, their names will be associated with a tidal wave of change that swept the country.

For that, Derek Kitchen and Moudi Sbeity, Karen Archer and Kate Call, Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge are The Salt Lake Tribune Utahns of the Year.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Utah found the state’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional on December 20, 2013. Its order that the state cease enforcing its ban took effect immediately, and hundreds of same-sex couples married over a period of 17 days until the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay of the District Court’s order pending an appeal to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In June 2014, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the decision of the district court, finding that Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, but stayed their mandate pending petition to the Supreme Court.

In October 2014, the Supreme Court denied the petition for review, without comment, effectively legalizing same-sex marriage in Utah. The Tenth Circuit lifted its stay, putting same-sex marriage into immediate effect.

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