Doug Bonney, Legal Director, 816-994-3311 or [email protected]

Kansas City, MO - Today, in Kitchen v. Herbert, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit declared that Utah's ban on marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional. This marks the first time that a federal appellate court has ruled on state marriage bans following the dismantling of a key section of the federal "Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)" last year in United States v. Windsor. Thus, this important decision sets the stage for the Supreme Court to consider the constitutionality of state laws that prohibit same-sex marriages.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Utah submitted a "friend of the court" brief in support of the challenge to the Utah law. The 10th Circuit includes Utah, Kansas, Wyoming, Colorado, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. Among those states, only New Mexico allows same-sex couples to marry. The precedent from today's ruling applies to all of these states: its effect, however, has been stayed pending an expected application by Utah for United States Supreme Court review. That means the state laws banning same-sex marriage in Kansas and the other states in the 10th Circuit will continue in force pending further litigation.

“The ACLU of Kansas believes that this historic decision brings marriage equality to the doorstep of reality for gay and lesbian couples in Kansas,” said Gary Brunk, executive director of the ACLU of Kansas. “We will continue to work until all loving couples in Kansas are able to commit to each other and take care of each other with the protections that only come with marriage."

The ACLU has brought additional challenges against similar laws in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, Oregon, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Alabama and lawsuits seeking recognition of legal marriages in Michigan, Missouri, Florida, and Ohio. Following the Supreme Court's decision striking down DOMA – a case in which the ACLU served as co-counsel to Edie Windsor – the ACLU launched the Out for Freedom campaign to achieve the freedom to marry for same-sex couples across the country.

For more information on the ACLU's Out for Freedom campaign, please

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