Headed to Denver: Same-sex couples fighting for marriage equality in Utah get big showing of support

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) – More than 150 people rallied Monday in support of the three same-sex couples headed to Denver to begin arguments in their fight against Utah’s ban on gay marriage.

Arguments begin Thursday, April 10th when the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals considers the constitutionality of Utah’s Amendment 3.

It's a fight many thought Utah wasn't ready for.

Plaintiff Kate Call told the crowd, "They also said wrong time, it's too early; we're on the cusp but not quite yet. Well we looked back at them and we said, ‘you know what, Utah is exactly he right place we have always experimented with social marital relationships."

As the push for equality sweeps the nation, it now appears Utah could be the tipping point for federal same-sex marriage rights.

Same-sex marriage supporter Marilyn Johnson-Faulkner told ABC 4 Utah, "I think this is the one. I think this one is going to go to the Supreme Court and make it legal throughout America."

Three couples took on Utah’s ban on gay marriage and on December 20th U.S District Court Judge Robert Shelby ruled in their favor, finding Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.

Plaintiff Moudi Sbeity told ABC 4 Utah, "It takes a lot of risk for many people, and not just us, to stand here and take this case."

The risk has seemed to dissipate as the plaintiff's and the roughly 1,300 legally married same-sex couples gain more and more support as they prepare to take their fight to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Plaintiff Derek Kitchen said, "When we filed it over a year ago we didn't know what kind of community support we had exactly and then when Judge Shelby gave us his ruling, his wonderful decision, on December 20th, we have had a flood of support from the community."

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker agrees that the numbers appear to be in the plaintiff's favor.

"There's no question, at least on the polling information that I’ve seen, that more and more people are accepting of committed couples who are gay being recognized legally,” said Becker.

While the couples in this case acknowledge the growing support for their cause, they tell ABC 4 Utah they're cautiously optimistic about the upcoming ruling and are taking this journey one step at a time.

"All we want America is a slow-cooked, locally sourced, community supported, fully sustainable, legally recognized Utah marriage,” said Sbeity.

ABC 4 Utah will have crews in the Denver courtroom, April 10th, when arguments begin in the Amendment 3 case.

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