LANDMARK VICTORY: 10th Circuit Appeals Court rules in favor of the freedom to marry

** BREAKING: The 10th Circuit has upheld a lower court ruling finding that denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry in Utah is unconstitutional! This is the first federal appellate court ruling since ‘Windsor.


Today the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled in favor of same-sex couples’ freedom to marry, upholding a marriage ruling out of Utah in December. It is the first ruling by a federal appellate court since last year’s victory in the Supreme Court and, unless reversed, will pave the way for the freedom to marry throughout the 10th Circuit, including in Colorado, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and Kansas.

The ruling is stayed pending further action, which could include an appeal to the United States Supreme Court.

The ruling, written by Judge Lucero, reads:

Having heard and carefully considered the argument of the litigants, we conclude that, consistent with the United States Constitution, the State of Utah may not [deny a citizen the benefit or protection of the laws of the State based solely upon the sex of the person that citizen chooses to marry]. We hold that the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right to marry, establish a family, raise children, and enjoy the full protection of a state’s marital laws. A state may not deny the issuance of a marriage license to two persons, or refuse to recognize their marriage, based solely upon the sex of the persons in the marriage union.

Read the full ruling HERE. 

Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, released the following statement:

Today, from the heart of the Mountain West, in a case arising out of Utah, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has brought us one giant step closer to the day when all Americans will have the freedom to marry. This first federal appellate ruling affirms what more than 20 other courts all across the country have found: There is no good reason to perpetuate unfair marriage discrimination any longer. America is ready for the freedom to marry, and it is time for the Supreme Court to bring our country to national resolution and it should do so now.

The decision is in Kitchen v. Herbert, brought by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and private counsel, on behalf of same-sex couples. Meet two of the plaintiffs, Derek Kitchen & Moudi Sbeity, and Laurie Wood & Kody Partridge, HERE.

Currently, 44% of Americans live in states where gay couples share in the freedom to marry: 19 states and the District of Columbia. Recent polling by the Washington Post/ABC News shows 59% of Americans support marriage, including a majority of young evangelicals and Republicans under 45 in other polls.

Oregon and Pennsylvania became the most recent states to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples after courts found the ban on the freedom to marry unconstitutional. In total, 22 rulings in recent months have found that state bans on marriage for same-sex couples are unconstitutional.

Learn all about pending marriage litigation – the 70+ cases in every single state in the country – HERE.

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