Utah: Marriage Equality Plaintiffs Kate Call and Karen Archer

Kate Call (L) and Karen Archer are plaintiffs in Utah’s freedom to marry case. (Photo by Restore Our Humanity)

By Kate Call
NCLR Guest Columnist

I met Karen in 2010, and we were surprised by everything we had in common. We had both raised parrots and Peruvian Paso horses. We both grew up in religiously fundamental homes. We share a love of reading and gardening. Most importantly, we are intensely curious about everything from space to politics to home repair. Karen has spent many long nights explaining all-things-obstetric (she was a doctor, an OBGYN) to me, and every day I’m with her I’m enchanted by her quirky, original and bright observations on every topic imaginable. When asked what I’d take with me to a desert island, I would be content with nothing more than her company. I would never be bored! I am delighted and honored to be her wife.

In 2011 we went to Iowa, where we could legally marry, and exchanged vows. It was a beautiful day—one I will carry with me forever.

Our love is strong, and we’ve encountered hardships. Karen had to leave her medical career and enter early retirement due to a serious and life-threatening chronic illness. We take our vows seriously: through sickness and in health. We are intimately acquainted with sickness. We want our marriage to be acknowledged in Utah because we know we have only a finite amount of time together before Karen’s death. We had, and still have, no time to waste. Karen’s previous partner died before we met, and she herself is ill, so she is acutely aware of end-of-life issues and the value of a legal marriage. I went through a bout of severe poverty after losing work and savings, and in the event of her death, she wants me to inherit her Social Security benefits so I can have some financial security and independence as I age. Even though we knew our marriage would not be immediately respected in Utah, we hoped it would only be a few years before the law changed. We want to be ready and married for the first possible moment of that actuality.

Kate Call and Karen Archer are plaintiffs in Kitchen v Herbert challenging Utah’s ban on marriage equality.