Wyoming Advocacy Group Celebrates Same-Sex Marriage

Oct 21, 2014

Tina Johnson and Stacey Maloney were the second same-sex couple to get married just outside the Laramie County Clerk's office. Unitarian Reverend Audette Fulbright officiated.
Credit Aaron Schrank/WPR

The gay rights advocacy group that has been fighting Wyoming’s gay marriage ban in state court for the past year celebrated the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state Tuesday.

Wyoming Equality’s executive director Jeran Artery stood outside the Cheyenne court house and watched two couples emerge with marriage licenses--and then tie the knot in brief official ceremonies near the court house entrance. 

Artery says this is what his group has been working for.

“The Wyoming history books are being rewritten today," said Artery. "To be able to come down here at the stroke of 10 a.m., when we knew it would become official and to just see the joy in these couples’ faces—the love, the commitment, as justice and equality and freedom are truly playing out in front of our eyes today.”

Last week, a federal court in Wyoming overturned the state’s gay marriage ban. Today, the Attorney General filed a notice that the state would not appeal that ruling, and county clerks around the state began issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. 

But Wyoming Equality's state case challenges Wyoming's gay marriage ban on different grounds. Artery says his legal team will decide soon if the lawsuit, known as Courage vs. Wyoming, needs to go on.

"My understanding is there were some subtleties and some different aspects of Courage vs. Wyoming that people would like to see played out," Artery said. "But today, we have the freedom to marry in Wyoming—and that’s always been our number one goal and concern and priority."

Public celebrations are being held tonight in Cheyenne and Jackson. Artery estimates that several hundred couples in Wyoming will look to get married now that the state allows it.