On the 5th Anniversary of gay marriage, same sex couples say Utah still needs change


    Same sex couples in Utah, reflecting on 5 years of legal same sex marriage in the state, say they would like to see changes to hate crimes laws to better protect the LGBTQ+ community. (Photo: KUTV)

    When Nicholas Rupp went to work on Dec. 20, 2013, he had no intention of getting married. He never thought he’d tie the knot at work.

    Rupp had a ring ready to propose to his boyfriend of three years, Michael, but as far as he knew, that Friday was just another day.

    Then the commotion began.

    Same sex couples in Utah, reflecting on 5 years of legal same sex marriage in the state, say they would like to see changes to hate crimes laws to better protect the LGBTQ+ community. (Photo: KUTV)

    A U.S. District Attorney Judge ruled the ban on same-sex marriages was unconstitutional. Couples began flocking to the Salt Lake County Government Center, where Rupp worked, to get married.

    “One of my co-workers came in and said, 'There are gay people getting married across the hall!'” he said.

    He called Michael and asked him to come witness what was happening.

    “While there was a lot of excitement, there was so much apprehension,” Nicholas Rupp said.

    Same sex couples in Utah, reflecting on 5 years of legal same sex marriage in the state, say they would like to see changes to hate crimes laws to better protect the LGBTQ+ community. (Photo: KUTV)

    He overheard people concerned over whether the governor would reverse the decision. That’s when he decided to propose — sort of.

    “I handed a clipboard full of applications to him and said, ‘Here! Fill this out,’" he said. Before long, Michael and Nicholas were standing in front of a reverend.

    Same sex couples in Utah, reflecting on 5 years of legal same sex marriage in the state, say they would like to see changes to hate crimes laws to better protect the LGBTQ+ community. (Photo: KUTV)

    “We got married in front of the ladies' room at Salt Lake County Government Center, where I work, in our t-shirt and work clothes and we wouldn’t change anything about it.”

    “The line went all the way around the building it was just so surreal to be like, 'This is really happening?'” Michael Rupp said.

    On their five-year anniversary, the Rupps say more change must happen.

    Same sex couples in Utah, reflecting on 5 years of legal same sex marriage in the state, say they would like to see changes to hate crimes laws to better protect the LGBTQ+ community. (Photo: KUTV)

    “We need to ensure that gay people and LGBTQ people are protected in housing and in the workplace across the nation, and I think we need religious leaders to stop saying things that dehumanize and are harmful to LGBTQ youth,” Nicholas Rupp said.

    “We’ve certainly made progress but we still have to deal with oppression,” Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski agreed. She was working for the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office when same-sex marriages became legal. Biskupski rushed out to get ordained.

    Same sex couples in Utah, reflecting on 5 years of legal same sex marriage in the state, say they would like to see changes to hate crimes laws to better protect the LGBTQ+ community. (Photo: KUTV)

    “I was marrying couple after couple after couple,” she said.

    Both Biskupski and the Rupps want more effective hate crime laws in Utah that protect the LGBTQ community.

    Same sex couples in Utah, reflecting on 5 years of legal same sex marriage in the state, say they would like to see changes to hate crimes laws to better protect the LGBTQ+ community. (Photo: KUTV)

    “At the end of the day,” Biskupski said, “we have to band together as a community and realize that equity and opportunity does not take opportunity away from other people.”

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