10th Circuit Court of Appeals to hear Utah gay marriage case

DENVER – One of the biggest battles for marriage equality in more than a year begins Thursday in Denver. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals will consider whether Utah’s ban on same sex marriage is unconstitutional.

This case involving  couples in Utah is being held in Denver because the court oversees five states in this region. that’s very important because  if the court rules that banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, gay and lesbian couples in Colorado would likely be entitled to the same rights.

Laurie Wood and Cody Partridge were able to get married in Utah when a ban on gay marriage was thrown out. Now they must fight to keep what they have.

“When young people, college-age students, teenagers with tears in their eyes and thank us for being the ones to go forward and being brave, that’s when we really feel we are doing something pretty momentous,” Wood said.

“I just am cautiously optimistic that the judges are seeing the importance of this case,” Partridge said.

Gay rights activists and those in the community who support them  say this is a matter of preserving the dignity that everyone deserves.

“This issue that’s being posed for the first time in our country the past decade really, or past 20 years, is whether same sex-couples and their children are going to be embraced as fully equal, and whether their humanity and dignity is going to be respected and protected by the law,” said Shannon Minter, a lesbian rights advocate.

The 10th Circuit covers six Colorado, Utah, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico and Wyoming.

It will likely  be months before the court makes a ruling that will no doubt have a deep emotional impact on those for and against gay marriage.

The court will hear an appeals case for gay marriage in Oklahoma next Thrusday. It’s the first time a same-sex marriage case has been heard by an appellate court since the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act last year.