Gay Marriage Proponents Rally Downtown; Federal Court Hearing Set For Thursday
Dozens of well-wishers for the federal court hearing about gay marriage on Thursday held signs and waved multi-colored flags along Center Street downtown during the lunch hour on Wednesday.
Drivers of vehicles, mostly pickups, honked their horns in support of the demonstrators, including at least two of the plaintiffs in the Guzzo.v.Mead lawsuit that will be heard in U.S. District Court, on South Wolcott Street at 10 a.m.
"Carl (Oleson) and I are one of the couples suing the state for marriage equality," Rob Johnston said.
"We would hope to see that -- we were married out of state, we were married in Canada -- and we would like to see that marriage recognized," he said.
That recognition, Johnston said, would include the rights, privileges and responsibilities of heterosexual couples including the right to visit a spouse in a hospital, next-of-kin legal access, and being able to list a spouse as a beneficiary of health benefits.
Johnston and Oleson, and three other couples are asking for a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order demanding federal court declare unconstitutional under the U.S. Constitution Wyoming's statute defining marriage as "'between and male and female person,'" and the state's practice or refusing to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples from out of state.
A favorable ruling for the plaintiffs would allow county clerks to issue marriage licenses, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit came immediately on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on Oct. 6 to decline to review several rulings that upheld the rights of gay couples to marry. That action included a ruling from the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
But Gov. Matt Mead said the state will continue to defend its law defining marriage as only between a man and a woman.
Johnston and Oleson, who were married in Canada in 2010, are already plaintiffs in that lawsuit filed in Cheyenne in March. That lawsuit asserts Wyoming is violating the state constitution's claims of equality of all persons.