Wyoming couple go it alone in challenging gay marriage ban

Thu. August 26, 2010 8:01 AM by Carlos Santoscoy

Chicago, IL - A Wyoming gay couple is going it alone in challenging the state's law that bans gay marriage, the AP reported.

David Shupe-Roderick, 25, and Ryan W. Dupree, 21, are challenging the state's ban after the Laramie County Clerk's Office refused to issued them a marriage license.

The two men say they are representing themselves because they cannot afford to hire an attorney.

"I kind of know some about the law, and I know how to research things," Shupe-Roderick told the Casper Star Tribune. "If I have to do this on my own, I will, because it's a cause I believe in."

On August 13, the couple asked U.S. District Judge Alan B. Johnson to end the restriction.

A spokesman for Governor Dave Freudenthal, a Democrat, said Tuesday that the administration would defend the law vigorously.

Unlike California's high-profile Proposition 8 challenge, plaintiffs in Wyoming won't have two highly regarded constitutional lawyers, Ted Olson and David Boies, to argue their case or the benefit of a deep-pocketed Hollywood-backed group, the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which was formed specifically to support the lawsuit.

The social conservative group WyWatch Family Action, which supports putting a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in the Wyoming Constitution, decried the lawsuit.

"We just don't believe that a federal judge should be determining the definition of marriage," the group's Becky Vandeberghe said.

A 2008 WyWatch Family Action commissioned poll of 509 registered voters found a large majority (74%) of respondents support a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. However, the poll relied heavily on the opinions of registered Republicans, who, on average, are more likely to oppose marriage equality. According to a New York Times poll, 63 percent of Wyomingites oppose gay marriage.

Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine