Four Wyoming couples and a statewide LGBT rights group have filed a request for court action that will let same-sex couples begin marrying immediately in the self-described Equality State.
The couples and Equality Wyoming, represented by attorneys with the National Center for Lesbian Rights and private law firms, seek a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order preventing the state from enforcing its ban on same-sex marriage. They filed the motion today in U.S. District Court in Wyoming.
Wyoming is covered under the 10th Circuit for federal courts, and this week the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that invalidated same-sex marriage bans in two other states within the circuit, Oklahoma and Utah. This sets a “binding precedent” for all the states in the circuit, today’s filing says.
“The Tenth Circuit’s holding that ‘under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the United States Constitution, those who wish to marry a person of the same sex are entitled to exercise the same fundamental right as is recognized for persons who wish to marry a person of the opposite sex,’ is now the law of the land in Wyoming,” says the motion, which comes the day after NCLR and its partner attorneys filed a related federal suit demanding that Wyoming comply with the 10th Circuit decision. That suit is likely to succeed, the LGBT advocates say.
Gov. Matthew Mead, however, contends the Supreme Court and 10th Circuit actions have no bearing on Wyoming. A challenge to Wyoming’s ban is due to be heard in a state court in Laramie County in December. He has not commented on today’s motion, but earlier he told the Casper Star-Tribune, “The attorney general will continue to defend Wyoming’s constitution defining marriage between a man and a woman.”
County clerks are awaiting court instruction on whether to issue licenses to same-sex couples, today’s filing notes. One such clerk, Debra Lathrop of Laramie County, joined in the motion.