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Plaintiffs in Gay Marriage Case Celebrate a Year in Marriage Equality

Whittney Evans
Derek Kitchen and Moudi Sbeity talk about marriage plans in the commercial kitchen where they make hummus.

Derek Kitchen and MoudiSbeity two of the plaintiffs in Utah’s same sex marriage case are celebrating one year of marriage equality in the state with an announcement about their wedding plans.

Last year same-sex couples lined the halls of the Salt Lake County clerk’s office to get a marriage license for the first time in history. U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby had just ruled the state’s ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional. And soon after, the governor and the state’s attorney general began the appeals process, which ended in the Supreme Court declining to hear the case.

Sbeity says he and Derek were pleasantly surprised the issue was resolved in less than a year.

“We expected maybe a ruling in 2016 so we were expecting to be in this for the long hall, but we’re so happy that it ended when it did because we can now go on with our lives,” Sbeity says.

“An abrupt beginning to an abrupt end, I guess,” added Kitchen.

Now Sbeity says the only fight the two are waging is over wedding colors. He says the two plan to exchange nuptials at the Gallivan Center in a public ceremony this May.   

“We feel like our wedding will not just be a celebration of our marriage but a celebration of our accomplishments in Utah, which is why we think it’s appropriate for us to have a public ceremony.”

Utah had barred gay marriage in 2004 with a voter-approved constitutional amendment. 

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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