Thursday, April 17, 2014

Lesbian couple say marriage lawsuit against Utah, LDS Church was filed without their knowledge

By Dennis Romboy, Deseret News

Published: Tue, Dec. 31 6:58 p.m. MST

 A lesbian couple who married last week want a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit against the state and the LDS Church that listed their names without their knowledge or permission.

A lesbian couple who married last week want a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit against the state and the LDS Church that listed their names without their knowledge or permission.

(Shutterstock)

SALT LAKE CITY — A lesbian couple who married last week want a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit against the state and the LDS Church that listed their names without their knowledge or permission.

Amy N. Fowler, an attorney, says she and Pidge Winburn never talked to the lawyer who filed the $10 million class-action lawsuit, alleging they were "denied freedom of religion and the right to marry."

The couple, who were married Dec. 23, filed a motion in U.S. District Court to dismiss the case Tuesday.

Salt Lake attorney E. Craig Smay filed the lawsuit Dec. 27, listing Fowler and Winburn as the plaintiffs. The lawsuit says there could be as many as 500 plaintiffs and demands each of them receive at least $25,000 in damages.

Smay did not respond to a telephone message or email for comment.

"Mr. Smay never had authorization, consent or permission from me or my wife to file a lawsuit on our behalf," Fowler wrote in a court declaration.

Fowler and Winburn were featured in a Christmas Day story in the Salt Lake Tribune. Fowler said she didn't know about the lawsuit until she received a call from a reporter two days later. She said she believes Smay got their names from the news article.

Fowler said she immediately called Smay, but he didn't answer. He also did not respond to phone calls or emails on Monday, she said.

"I am very disappointed in your actions and will be filing a formal bar complaint against you," she wrote in the email attached to he court declaration.

Email: romboy@deseretnews.com, Twitter: dennisromboy

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1. Uncle Rico
Sandy, UT,
Dec. 31, 2013

What a joke of a lawsuit. Hey counselor go back and read the section on ethics.

2. jeanie
orem, UT,
Dec. 31, 2013

It was good of the couple to call this lawyer out. Even thought I completely disagree with gay marriage, I do not think all those who participate are bad people out to ruin what I believe to be right.

3. MarkA
Logan, UT,
Dec. 31, 2013

Unethical lawyers like these are running rampant in our state and country and ruining our society. Hats off to the couple to ask to have their names removed from the suit.

4. Cougsndawgs
West Point , UT,
Dec. 31, 2013

Now this is a lesbian couple who represent what I believe most of them represent. They aren't looking to tear religion or society apart they just want equal protection under the law. I commend them, and hopefully this opens some people's eyes about the true nature of the LGBT community and what their desires are...equality. They aren't out to attack traditional families folks, they just want equal treatment.

5. rlsintx
Plano, TX,
Dec. 31, 2013

Not a good thing for a member of the bar to have done. Not good at all.