SALT LAKE CITY — One of the couples at the center of Utah’s landmark marriage equality case has announced their separation.
In a Facebook post on Sunday, Utah State Senator Derek Kitchen and Moudi Sbeity announced the end of their marriage. Sen. Kitchen, D-Salt Lake City, confirmed to FOX 13 the post served as a joint statement from them both.
“When we met ten years ago, we did not know what would be in store for us, nor did we know how far our shared strengths and compatible differences would take us. We are incredibly proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish together – from our fight for marriage equality, growing two businesses, and running for public office. We’ve been proud to share this journey with you publically [sic] with full transparency, right from the beginning. We couldn’t have done it without your support,” they wrote.
“Within our fight for marriage equality, we fought for all the challenges and rights that come along with it. So, It is with much love and in the interest of living with full transparency still, that we are letting you know that we have decided to pursue individual paths and end our marriage.”
Kitchen and Sbeity were among three same-sex couples who sued the state of Utah for the right to marry, challenging Amendment 3 — the state’s longstanding voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage. The case, named Kitchen v. Herbert, led to the state allowing same-sex marriage two years before the rest of the nation.
The couple married in 2015 in a public ceremony in downtown Salt Lake City, after the litigation had ended, but before the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide with an historic ruling.
The high-profile case put all of them in the spotlight; they went on to launch a popular restaurant and Kitchen served on the Salt Lake City Council and currently serves in the Utah State Senate representing a large part of Utah’s capital city.
“Had we known that this would be the outcome when we met, we would do it all over again. We remain good friends, business partners, and supporters for each other. We still care deeply for, and love each other, and hope that you can find comfort and love in the knowledge that we will continue to stand for and work for our community, whether it’s through politics, or a safe space for a warm meal,” they wrote.
“As we navigate this new reality, we hope that we can count on your respect and ongoing support. We are reminded of this quote from Francis Weller: ‘The work of the mature person is to carry grief in one hand and gratitude in the other and to be stretched large by them.’ Grief for our loss and gratitude for our shared growth.”
“Love is love, and love will be love again,” they said.