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At celebration, gay marriage supporters in Utah talk of future

First Published      Last Updated Oct 15 2014 02:00 pm

"Do you feel that?" Marina Gomberg asked hundreds of jubilant supporters of same-sex marriage who gathered at the Salt Lake City Library on Monday night.

"That," the Equality Utah leader said, "is the salve to our wounds from the unequal treatment of our families. That, my friends, is love."

But while couples cheered and cried, plaintiffs in the now-closed case of Kitchen v. Herbert roused the crowd to its feet.

And while elected officials attempted to dance to Kool & The Gang, speakers at Monday night's rally warned that the fight for LGBT equality in Utah would not end with marriage.



"The hardest part is still before us," Equality Utah director Troy Williams said. "I know so many of you have had conflicts with your parents, with your brothers and sisters and your neighbors. ... Now is the time that we reach out and love them. That is the hardest work that we have to do."

Looming behind marriage are anti-discrimination laws that exclude housing and employment protections for LGBT Utahns, Gomberg said.

"It is our love and our humanity that got us here today," Gomberg said. "It will be our love and our humanity that gets us to the finish line."

The plaintiffs, whose win at the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals was upheld when the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear the state's appeal, were happy to bask in their victory.

Kody Partridge twirled her wife Laurie Wood to celebratory music broadcast over Library Square. Patridge and Wood were one of the three couples who were plaintiffs in the case.

Patridge and Wood darted around the crowd to hug assorted officials who supported her case, including Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill and State Senator Jim Dabakis.

Derek Kitchen and Moudi Sbeity beamed with their dog, Kasha.

"Today I woke up as a full American," Sbeity said to whoops and cheers.

Kate Call, whose wife Karen Archer was too ill to attend the rally, exhorted the crowd, "For now, go and get married."

Their attorney, Peggy Tomsic, called the case "one of the greatest honors of my career."

She said she and Restore Our Humanity, the group that initially funded and identified couples for the case, faced opposition both inside and outside the LGBT community as it ascended through federal district and circuit courts, waving off warnings that, "You're gonna ruin it," she said.

She thanked U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby for his December ruling that led to hundreds of weddings of same-sex couples — including that of Tomsic to her wife.

"I'm grateful we had an intellectually honest judge ... to recognize we're all citizens," she said.

The fast closure of the case — it was argued before Shelby less than one year ago — was overwhelming, she said.

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AT A GLANCE

Trib Talk chat

On Tuesday at 12:15 p.m., Sen. Jim Dabakis and Rep. Kraig Powell will join Jennifer Napier-Pearce to discuss the broad impact of Monday’s gay-marriage decision and how state legislators will approach the legal revamp in January. You can also join the discussion by sending questions and comments to the hashtag #TribTalk on Twitter and Google+ or texting 801-609-8059.


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