US: Lesbians named without permission ask for lawsuit against Utah and Mormon Church to be struck down

Joseph McCormick January 2, 2014
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A lesbian couple in the US state of Utah have asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit against the state and Mormon Church which listed their names without permission.

Amy N Fowler and Pidge Winburn married on 23 December in Utah, just days after equal marriage became available in the state.

After being featured on a front-page story in the Salt Lake Tribune on 26 December, the couple noticed that they had been named as plaintiffs in a $10 million (£6 million) lawsuit against the state and the Mormon church.

The lawsuit was filed by the Salt Lake attorney E Craig Smay, and alleged that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon church) and the state of Utah had deprived the couple, and hundreds of others, of their freedom of religion and the right to marry.

Fowler, 35 and Winburn, 37, only found out about the lawsuit after it was filed.

“It was a shock to us,” Fowler told The Tribune, and said it had turned “something happy and joyous into something else neither of us have any interest in.”

They said they believe that Smay took their names from the article which was published a day before the filing.

“It feels in a weird way like an invasion of privacy,” Fowler said. She said Smay had not responded to her phone calls.

She asked him by email to remove their names from the filing, and said she plans to make a complaint to the Utah State Bar about his unauthorised use of their names.

The US state of Utah earlier this week officially filed to ask the US Supreme Court to put on hold the issue of marriage licences to same-sex couples.

Last week US District Judge Robert Shelby refused to block his own ruling making equal marriage legal in the state.

More: church of the latter day saints, equal marriage, gay marriage, marriage equality, mormon church, same sex marriage, US, Utah

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