Updated 3 March 2014
- ALABAMA • On 16 December 2013, in Paul Hard v. AL Governor Robert Bentley, et al., SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center) filed a federal lawsuit to: (1) overturn the 1998 AL law and the 2005 AL constitutional amendment which ban same-gender civil marriage; (2) issue a revised Death Certificate for Charles Fancher showing Paul Hard as the surviving spouse, based on their 2011 MA marriage; and (3) disburse the proceeds of a wrongful death suit to Paul Hard.
- ARKANSAS #1 • On 2 July 2013, in Kendall Wright et al. v. AR Governor Michael Beebe, et al., 21 same-gender couples filed suit in a Pulaski County court. Amendments were filed on 21 July, 5 August, and 15 August. The plaintiffs seek to overturn the 2004 AR constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage, the state law banning same-gender civil marriage, and the federal law allowing states to ignore same-gender marriages from other states, and they also seek parental rights, birth certificate names, insurance, and other benefits. Plaintiffs planned to request a declaratory judgment by 12 December 2013. On 12 December 2013, defendants for Faulkner County and AR asked the judge to dismiss the suit, and plaintiffs asked that other couples be allowed to marry during the suit. On 19 December 2013, the judge refused to dismiss the suit, but also refused to let couples marry while the case is underway.
- ARKANSAS #2 • On 15 July 2013, in Rita & Pam Jernigan et al. v. Crane et al., a federal lawsuit was filed for 2 unmarried female couples and 1 already married male couple who seek same-gender civil marriages in AR. On 31 January 2014, AR asked a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit challenging the 2004 AR constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage.
- ARIZONA • On 20 July 2010, in Joseph Diaz, et al., v. Janice Brewer, et al., a federal judge barred enforcement of an AZ law that would withhold health benefits from LGBT employees, their partners, and children. On 6 September 2011, the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals agreed. On 2 July 2012, AZ asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case. On 27 June 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Arizona’s appeal of a preliminary injunction suspending the voter-approved benefits ban, so the benefits will remain in effect while the case proceeds. Motions for summary judgment were expected by 15 September 2014. The trial is expected to take 4 days, but no start date has been proposed. On 23 December 2013, the judge certified the case as a class action lawsuit representing all AZ state workers with same-gender partners.
- ARIZONA #2 • On 6 January 2014, in Joseph Connolly, et. al., v. AZ Governor Jan Brewer, et al., four couples filed a class action lawsuit in federal court challenging AZ’s 1996 statutory marriage ban and 2004 constitutional marriage ban.
- CALIFORNIA #5 • On 24 May 2012, in Michael Dragovich v. U.S. Treasury, U.S. IRS and CalPERS, the federal DOMA was ruled unconstitutional in this case about long-term health care. On 23 July 2012, the government filed an appeal. This is one of 14 cases in which the Republican-controlled House of Representatives defended the Defense-of-Marriage Act, and charged taxpayers for the cost. On 18 July 2013, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner announced that the Republican-controlled BLAG (Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group) had ceased defending DOMA in all 14 of the federal lawsuits on which it wasted $3 million in taxpayer funds, including this one. On 22 July 2013, BLAG’s appeal was dismissed, and it withdrew from the case, leaving the United States as the only defendant. On 4 November 2013, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated part of the earlier decision, and sent the case back to U.S. district court to reconsider the effect of recent legal changes upon same-gender domestic couples who: live out of CA, can’t marry because of impairment, can’t marry because one partner died, delay marriage, choose not to marry, or who want remedies because they were denied marriage in the past.
- CALIFORNIA #8 • In 2008, the authors of CA Proposition 8 (NOM, Protect Marriage.com) filed a federal lawsuit claiming that because they suffered boycotts, hate mail, phone calls, and unreported “death threats” they should be forever exempt from compliance with CA campaign disclosure laws, and their donors should stay secret. The U.S. Supreme Court does make exceptions for small, persecuted groups who need anonymity to survive, but the Proposition 8 authors don’t qualify because they raised over $43 million and got 52% of the votes cast. On 20 October 2011, the district court ruled against them. On 11 October 2013, they argued their case in the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
- COLORADO • On 30 October 2013, in Rebecca Brinkman and Margaret Burd v. Colorado, a same-gender couple represented by attorney Ralph Ogden, sued in state court to challenge CO’s 2006 constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage and statutory ban offering only civil union.
- COLORADO #2 • On 6 December 2013, in Charlie Craig & David Mullins v. Masterpiece Cakeshop et al., represented by ACLU, a CO judge ruled that: (1) a baker violated the CO Public Accommodation Law by refusing to sell a cake to a same-gender couple, and (2) having to sell all products to all couples does not violate any baker’s free speech rights, or anyone’s rights to free exercise of religion. On 6 January 2014, the baker’s attorneys, Alliance Defending Freedom, filed an appeal of the court order to stop discriminating. Equality opponents often cite this famous case when they argue that marriage equality ends religious freedom and free speech.
- COLORADO #3 • On 31 October 2013, in Rebecca Brinkman & Margaret Burd v. Adams County, Colorado Clerk & Recorder Karen Long, a lesbian couple filed a state lawsuit challenging CO marriage law and the 2006 constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage. On 23 December 2013, the CO Attorney General was allowed to intervene as a defendant, after the Clerk decided not to defend the law or the constitution. On 29 January 2014, the Clerk asked to be excused from participating in the case, but remain as a defendant cooperating with both sides.
- COLORADO #4 • On 18 February 2014, in G. Kristian McDaniel-Miccio and Nan McDaniel-Miccio, et al., v. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, et al., Reilly Pozner filed a state lawsuit for 5 lesbian couples and 4 gay couples challenging CO Amendment 43, the 2006 constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage.
- CONNECTICUT • In October 2011, in Carmen Cardona v. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, a sailor filed suit over denial of spouse disability benefits. On 19 April 2012, she filed an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. On 2 August 2013, the Republican-controlled BLAG (Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group) ceased being a defendant in the case, leaving the United States as the only defendant. VA Secretary Shinseki says he will recognize same-gender civil spouses of military personnel only after direction from the U.S. Department of Justice or President Obama. A favorable ruling in this case would affect every military veteran.
- DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA • On 15 August 2013, in James Spellman v. Washington DC, a surviving same-gender partner sued to get his relationship with Michael Kelly recognized as a common-law marriage for purposes of settling Kelly’s estate. States recognize common-law marriages fully (AL, CO, DC, IA, KS, MT, OK, RI, SC, TX), if established before a certain date (GA, ID, OH, OK, PA, and a few others), for probate only (NH), or if validated by court order (UT). The U.S. Labor Department recognizes common-law same-gender marriages as defined by state law where the employee resides, but other agencies differ.
- FLORIDA #2 • On 7 November 2013, in John Becker v. University of Central Florida, a state judge ruled that FL must disclose records showing who approved Associate Professor Mark Regnerus’ anti-LGBT parenting study, how it got published immediately, and why no qualified peers reviewed it. The Regnerus study is cited more often than any other by anti-LGBT groups worldwide, and Regnerus is scheduled to testify in February that children of same-gender parents are less successful than children of mixed-gender parents in April DeBoer & Jayne Rowse v. MI Governor Rick Snyder, et al. On 22 November 2013, FL hired former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Wells to fight the release of over 50,000 public records related to the publication of the widely discredited Regnerus study. Also, Judge Donald Grincewicz who had handled the case since its start in spring 2013, inexplicably recused himself from further involvement, and an appellate court granted a stay in the case until a replacement judge is appointed.
- FLORIDA #3 • On 26 February 2014, in Catherina Pareto, et al., v. Miami-Dade County Court Clerk Harvey Ruvin, a case challenging the 2008 FL constitutional ban on same-gender marriage, the anti-LGBT hate group Liberty Counsel (author of the ban) requested permission to intervene in the case, along with PULSE (African-American churches), Florida Democratic League (right wing Cuban-Americans), and Florida Family Policy Council (anti-LGBT hate group).
- HAWAI'I #2 • On 8 August 2012, in Natasha Jackson, et al., v. Governor Neil Abercrombie, et al., a federal judge in Honolulu ruled against LGBT couples seeking to marry. The plaintiffs had argued that Hawaii’s 2011 civil union law is unconstitutional because it provides full state benefits but prevents couples from receiving any federal benefits. The plaintiffs appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. On 26 September 2013, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the plaintiffs’ request to extend deadlines, since the legislature may legalize same-gender civil marriage in a special session starting 28 October 2013. Plaintiffs’ opening briefs are due 22 November 2013, defendants’ brief is due 23 December, and reply briefs are due 6 January 2014. On 25 October 2013, 12 of the first 15 states with marriage equality (CA, CT, DC, DE, IA, MA, MD, ME, NH, NY, VT, WA) plus IL, NM, and OR filed a brief urging the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to strike down gay marriage bans in HI and NV.
- IDAHO #1 • On 7 November 2013, in Sue Latta, et al. v. ID Governor C. L. Butch Otter, four lesbian couples, represented by National Center for Lesbian Rights and Boise attorneys Deborah Ferguson and Craig Durham, filed a federal lawsuit challenging the 2006 state constitutional amendment, and Idaho laws, banning same-gender civil marriage and civil union. On 24 December 2013, the plaintiffs asked the judge to block the state from intervening in their lawsuit. On 9 January 2014, the ID attorney general filed motions seeking (1) to dismiss the case on the premise that marriage is not a fundamental right, and (2) to intervene in the case. On 22 January 2014, the judge allowed the ID attorney general to intervene. On 18 February 2014, the judge set 5 May 2014 for hearing the plaintiffs’ motion to skip the trial and issue a ruling.
IOWA #1 • On 8 August 2013, the IA Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board voted to investigate NOM (National Organization for Marriage) for unlawfully concealing donors. NOM spent about $735,000 in 2010 and 2012 trying to unseat 4 of the 9 Iowa Supreme Court justices who ruled unanimously for same-gender civil marriage in 2009. On 21 August 2013, the Board voted unanimously to retain its current executive director and staff attorney during the investigation.
IOWA #2 • On 7 October 2013, in Betty Ann & Richard Odgaard v. Iowa Civil Rights Commission al., bistro owners (the Odgaards) sued IA, claiming that: (1) their religious beliefs compel them to discriminate against same-gender couples, (2) the IA anti-discrimination law violates their religious beliefs by forbidding discrimination, and (3) their bistro business qualifies as a religious institution.
KENTUCKY #1 • On 26 July 2013, in Timothy Love, et al. v. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear (formerly Gregory Bourke & Michael De Leon, et al. v. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear), 4 same-gender couples and their children filed a federal lawsuit challenging KY’s ban on recognizing same-gender couples married elsewhere. On 1 October 2013, KY Attorney General Clay Barkley asked the court to dismiss the case, claiming that the plaintiffs have no standing to bring this lawsuit. On 12 February 2014, the court struck down that specific ban, and rejected arguments about “responsible” procreation, tradition, and harm allegedly caused by same-gender marriages to mixed-gender marriages. On 27 February 2014, a judge ordered KY to immediately start recognizing same-gender marriage licenses issued outside KY; whether KY must also issue such licenses is being decided separately. On 28 February 2014, the court denied KY’s request for a 90-day stay of the order requiring KY to recognize same-gender marriages performed elsewhere, and issued a 21-day stay instead. The recently added plaintiffs (Timothy Love & Laurence Ysunza) seeking marriage within KY had requested an injunction allowing marriages immediately, but the court also denied that request.
- KENTUCKY #4 • On 25 October 2013, in Romero v. Romero, Alysha Romero filed in KY Family Court to be divorced from Rebecca Sue Romero, whom she legally married in MA in 2009.
LOUISIANA #1 • On 16 July 2013, in Jonathan Robicheaux and Derek Pinton, et al. v. LA Attorney General James Caldwell, two couples represented by attorney Scott Spivey filed a federal lawsuit challenging the LA constitutional amendment and state law banning same-gender civil marriage, and sought LA recognition for same-gender couples married elsewhere. On 27 November 2013, the court dismissed the case because it named as defendants only the LA attorney general and omitted the LA Department of Revenue. On 2 December 2013, plaintiffs asked the court to reconsider its dismissal, and to allow the addition of another defendant. On 27 January 2014, Judge Martin Feldman denied a request to un-consolidate this case (#2013-cv-05090) from another case (#2014-cv-00097). On 25 February 2014, LA Attorney General hired Kyle Duncan (from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty) as Special Attorney General to defend the LA ban on same-gender civil marriage.
LOUISIANA #2 • In 2013, In Re Costanza and Brewer, a same-gender couple (Angela Marie Costanza and Chastity Shanelle Brewer) sought LA recognition of their CA marriage and a joint adoption. On 26 July 2013, a state judge ruled against them. On 25 September 2013, they appealed that decision. On 25 February 2014, LA Attorney General hired Kyle Duncan (from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty) as Special Attorney General to defend the LA ban on same-gender civil marriage.
LOUISIANA #3 • On 12 February 2014, in Forum for Equality Louisiana v. Louisiana Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield, et al., a federal suit was filed for 4 same-gender couples challenging the LA constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriages performed in LA or elsewhere, and challenging LA’s refusal to recognize both spouses as parents to children that are born to them or children that they adopt. On 25 February 2014, LA Attorney General hired Kyle Duncan (from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty) as Special Attorney General to defend the LA ban on same-gender civil marriage.
- MAINE #2 • Maine law requires donors and expenditures that influence a campaign to be disclosed, but NOM has refused to disclose that data since 2009. On 27 June 2012, in NOM, et al. v. Maine, the Superior Court affirmed the decision of the Commission on Government Ethics and Election Practices to uphold the subpoenas issued on 28 January 2010, thus requiring NOM to identify and testify about 2009 revenue sources, expenditures, and funds transfers to Stand For Marriage Maine. NOM appealed that decision to the Maine Supreme Court, which will decide the case in 2013.
- MASSACHUSETTS #1 & #2 • On 31 May 2012, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals found the federal DOMA (Defense-of-Marriage Act) unconstitutional in Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. U.S. HHS (Department of Health and Human Services), et al., and Nancy Gill, et al. v. U.S. OPM (Office of Personnel Management), et al. These were two of 14 cases in which the Republican-controlled House of Representatives defended the DOMA, and charged taxpayers for the cost. On 29 June 2012, House Republicans asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse that decision, and on 24 July, MA Attorney General Martha Coakley asked the U.S. Supreme Court uphold that decision. The U.S. Justice Department filed historic legal briefs in support of both plaintiffs, and argued for both plaintiffs before the U.S. Supreme Court, which on 27 June 2013 declined to review these cases, leaving both Appeals Court victories intact. On 18 July 2013, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner announced that the Republican-controlled Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group had ceased defending DOMA in all 14 of the federal lawsuits on which it wasted $3 million in taxpayer funds, including this one.
- MASSACHUSETTS #3 • On 9 July 2010, in Joanne Pedersen, et al. v. U.S. OPM (Office of Personnel Management), et al., the U.S. district court found the federal DOMA (Defense-of-Marriage Act) unconstitutional in a case filed by GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders). (This was one of 14 cases in which the Republican-controlled House of Representatives defended the Defense-of-Marriage Act, and charged taxpayers for the cost.) That ruling was appealed by the U.S. Justice Department to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals. In addition, on 17 August 2012, GLAD also asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case, and on 11 September 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice also asked the Court to review the case. Back in the appeals court, on 28 August 2012, the court denied Pedersen’s request to expedite her appeal and to assign the case to the same panel that is hearing Windsor v. U.S. IRS. On 31 August 2012, the appeals court also ruled that the Republican-controlled Legal Advisory Group is one of the losing defendants in the district court, and thus can file its own appeal by 1 October 2012. On 28 November 2012, the appeals court suspended the case schedule, pending outcome of one or more U.S. Supreme Court decisions. On 27 June 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review this case. On 18 July 2013, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner announced that the Republican-controlled Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group had ceased defending DOMA in all 14 of the federal lawsuits on which it wasted $3 million in taxpayer funds, including this one.
- MASSACHUSETTS #4 • On 27 October 2011, in Shannon McLaughlin, et al. v. Chuck Hagel, et al., 8 plaintiff same-gender couples filed a Federal district court suit seeking equal pay/benefits for active/veteran military personnel. The suit challenged the U.S. Code (Titles 10, 32, 38) and the federal DOMA (Defense-of-Marriage Act). On 17 February 2012, the U.S. DOJ announced that it would not defend either law in this case, although it will remain a party in the case. The case was suspended pending decisions in Gill v. U.S. OPM and in Massachusetts v. U.S. HHS. This was one of 14 cases in which the Republican-controlled House of Representatives defended the Defense-of-Marriage Act, and charged taxpayers for the cost. On 27 June 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review this case, allowing it to continue in the Court of Appeals. On 18 July 2013, the U.S. DoJ notified the court that based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 26 June 2013 Windsor decision, all other statutes in this case apply equally to same-gender and mixed-gender couples, and this court should not enter a judgment favoring the plaintiffs. On 18 July 2013, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner announced that the Republican-controlled Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group had ceased defending DOMA in all 14 of the federal lawsuits on which it wasted $3 million in taxpayer funds, including this one. On 4 September 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it had ceased enforcing U.S. Code, Title 38. On 2 October 2013, the U.S. District Court ruled in favor of the 8 same-gender married couples.
- MASSACHUSETTS #5 • On 31 May 2012, in Dean Hara v. U.S. OPM (Office of Personnel Management), the DOMA was ruled unconstitutional. A 1st Circuit Court of Appeals decision is on hold pending resolution of Gill v. U.S. OPM.
- MICHIGAN #1 • On 23 January 2012, in April DeBoer & Jayne Rowse v. MI Governor Rick Snyder, et al., a lesbian couple went to federal court to challenge MI laws that deny adoption to certified foster parents when they are not married. On 7 September 2012, as suggested by the judge, they amended their suit to challenge the constitutionality of the state’s 2004 ban on same-gender marriage, civil union, domestic partnership, and joint adoption. On 19 February 2013, Oakland County, MI clerk Lisa Brown withdrew her request to dismiss the lawsuit, saying that she agrees with the plaintiffs and wants their suit to succeed. On 7 March 2013, a U.S. District judge heard arguments challenging the constitutionality of the state same-gender marriage ban, and heard the state’s request to dismiss the suit. The judge decided not to dismiss, and to postpone making a ruling until after the U.S. Supreme Court decides two other marriage-related cases about the DOMA and California Proposition 8. On 1 July 2013, the court denied state’s request to dismiss the suit. On 10 July, the judge set a trial date of 1 October 2013. On 22 July 2013, the MI Governor and Attorney General claimed that same-gender civil marriage is not guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, that denying the plaintiffs their marriage license does no harm, and that the state constitutional amendment banning same-gender marriage is necessary to “promote responsible procreation” and to ensure that every child has mixed-gender parents. On 10 September 2013, the trial date was re-scheduled for 16 October 2013. On 16 October 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman denied both sides’ petitions for summary judgment, saying that he will expedite completion of the case, witness lists will be exchanged in October 2013, and expert testimony will be heard during a trial starting 25 February 2014. On 15 November 2013, the state confirmed that sociology Associate Professor Mark Regnerus and three other witnesses will testify that: children of same-gender parents are less successful than children of mixed-gender parents, that lesbian parents produce violent boys, that children raised by same-gender couples are 35% less likely to progress normally in school, and that there is no scientific evidence showing that children of same-gender parents do as well as children of mixed-gender parents. On 24 November 2013, the plaintiffs asked that their trial be split into 2 parts: (1) constitutionality of marriage/adoption laws; and (2) deciding what scrutiny level is required when judging laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation (whether they are politically powerless, whether they have immutable characteristics, whether they contribute to society). On 13 December 2013, MI officials asked the court to ignore which level of judicial scrutiny applies to laws that discriminate against same-gender couples, and to not split the trial into two parts. On 3 January 2014, the judge granted the plaintiffs’ request to split the trial into 2 parts. On 15 January 2014, lawyers from ACLU and G&LA&D joined the plaintiff legal team. On 6 February 2014, the plaintiffs sought to ban the testimony of sociology professor Mark Regnerus because his flawed methods, rejection by peers, lack of qualifications, unreliability, irrelevance don’t meet the minimum requirements for federal evidence. Trial was scheduled for 25 February 2014.
- MICHIGAN #2 • In Theresa Bassett, et al., v. MI Governor Richard Snyder, five same-gender couples challenged the constitutionality of MI’s Public Act 297 which denies fringe benefits to same-gender partners of government employees. On 28 June 2013, the U.S. District Court issued an injunction that temporarily prevents the law from taking effect until the entire case is decided.
- MINNESOTA #2 • In 2010, in Douglas Benson, et al. v. Hennepin County Local Registrar Jill Alverson, et al., three same-gender couples filed suit challenging the MN Defense-of-Marriage Act. A trial court dismissed the suit, but on 10 July 2011, the couples appealed. On 23 January 2012, a MN appeals court overturned the dismissal, and ordered a full trial back in district court. Plaintiffs’ request for a summary judgment is pending, after which either they will win their case or else it will go to trial. In February 2013, both parties agreed to put the proceedings on hold until at least 1 June 2013.
- MISSISSIPPI • On 11 September 2013, in Lauren Beth Czekala-Chatham v. Dana Ann Melcon, Ms. Czekala-Chatham asked MS to first recognize their CA marriage, and then grant a MS divorce involving property, alimony, children, and inheritance. On 2 December 2013, the judge refused to grant a divorce because MS doesn’t recognize the marriage. Czekala-Chatham said she is appealing the ruling.
- MISSISSIPPI #2 • In July 2013, under Campaign for Southern Equality's “We Do” campaign, same-gender couples began requesting and being denied marriage licenses all across MS, in preparation for lawsuits.
- MISSOURI #2 • On 8 January 2014, in MO Baptist Convention, et al. v. MO Governor Jay Nixon, et al., anti-LGBT groups sued MO for accepting jointly filed tax returns from same-gender couples who were legally married in other states.
- MONTANA • On 17 December 2012, in Donaldson & Guggenheim v. Montana, in a 4-3 decision based on the state constitutional marriage ban of 2004, the MT Supreme Court rejected the claim for equal benefits for inheritance, burial, worker compensation, death benefits, taxation, health care decision-making, divorce, custody, and child support. But the court also wrote that the plaintiffs did not specify which laws discriminate against them, thereby inviting the couples and ACLU Montana to submit a modified request. On 15 July 2013, ACLU of Montana amended its complaint for 7 gay couples and now seeks all of the benefits of marriage, other than marriage itself.
- NEBRASKA #1 • On 27 August 2013, in Greg Stewart and Stillman Stewart, et al. v. NE Governor Dave Heineman et al., ACLU Nebraska filed a suit challenging NE’s constitutional 1995 ban on unmarried, cohabiting, unrelated adults serving as foster parents, as well as gays or lesbians serving as foster parents.
- NEVADA • In 2002, NV amended the state constitution to ban same-gender marriage. In 2009, the legislature created domestic partnership. On 10 April 2012, in Beverly Sevcik, et al., v. Governor Brian Sandoval, et al., a lawsuit seeking full marriage equality was filed in federal district court by Lambda Legal on behalf of 8 same-gender couples. On 26 November 2012, a Mormon judge ruled that same-gender couples have no constitutional right to marry: (1) because they usually do not procreate; and (2) because if same-gender couples start marrying, then opposite-gender couples might marry less often. The judge also ruled that laws related to sexual orientation should not be tested under heightened scrutiny (a greater assumption that they’re unconstitutional) because gays and lesbians now have substantial political power, and thus no longer qualify as a minority class. On 5 December 2012, the anti-LGBT group Coalition For the Protection of Marriage from Boise, ID asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case. Simultaneously, Lambda Legal appealed the November 2012 ruling to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and on 7 January 2013, that court set June 2013 deadlines for filing briefs. On 27 June 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review this case, and returned it to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Briefs are expected in October 2013, with arguments and a decision in 2014, in tandem with a HI same-gender marriage appeal (see Hawaii for details). If the Supreme Court issues a decision, that would not occur until 2015. On 25 October 2013, 12 of the first 15 states with marriage equality (CA, CT, DC, DE, IA, MA, MD, ME, NH, NY, VT, WA) plus IL, NM, and OR filed a brief urging the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to strike down gay marriage bans in HI and NV. On 22 January 2014, NV’s brief argued that same-gender civil marriage should be banned because mixed-gender marriage should be promoted. On 27 January 2014, the Carson City, NV Clerk-Record Alan Glover withdrew his Answering Brief in the appeal case, and no longer opposes the Plaintiffs. On 10 February 2014, the plaintiffs asked the Appeals Court to expedite the hearing date. On the same day, the NV attorney general and governor asked the appeals court for permission to withdraw their earlier brief defending NV’s constitutional ban on same-gender civil marrriage because the state’s arguments are no longer defensible, leaving no defendants from NV government. The only remaining defendant is an anti-LGBT group, Coalition for the Protection of Marriage, which lacks standing for any federal appeal (just as the CA Proposition 8 authors lacked standing to appeal). On 12 February 2014, the court agreed to a fast-track review, but set no dates. On 28 February 2014, the anti-LGBT Coalition for Protection of Marriage argued that: (1) only the U.S. Supreme Court can decide the constitutionality of banning civil marriage for same-gender couples; (2) there is no animosity in banning same-gender couples from civil marriage; (3) same-gender couples who marry have “gender-less” marriages; (4) same-gender couples make inferior parents; and (5) all the government defendants who withdrew from the case are still enforcing the voter-approved ban.
- NEW MEXICO #1 • On 17 August 2012, the state Supreme Court agreed to hear a photographer’s religion-based appeal, in Elane Photography v. Vanessa Willock. In 2006, a photography business was fined $6,638 by the state Civil Rights Commission for refusing to photograph a lesbian civil commitment ceremony. The photographer lost her case at the Commission, in the trial court, and in the appeals court on 31 May 2012, and in the NM Supreme Court on 22 August 2013. The NM Supreme Court unanimously confirmed both of the lower court decisions, and ruled for the 4th time in favor of the plaintiff, stating that (1) denying photography service to a same-gender couple customer was unlawfully discriminatory, (2) requiring businesses to serve all customers equally does not violate free speech guarantees, and (3) the religious freedom law does not apply in a suit between private parties. The court rejected the photographer’s excuses about free speech and freedom of religion, and also affirmed that photographers and other creative/expressive vendors are never exempt from the anti-discrimination laws. Equality opponents cite this case more than any other when arguing that marriage equality laws eliminate religious freedom. On 11 September 2013, lawyers from Alliance Defending Freedom announced that they are seeking U.S. Supreme Court permission to discriminate against same-gender couples as a religious practice. On 8 November 2013, the photographer asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the prior decisions holding her responsible for violating the NM Human Rights Act by refusing to photograph the lesbian wedding.
- NEW MEXICO #5 • On 28 August 2013, the New Mexico Association of Counties and all 33 county clerks voted unanimously to seek a NM Supreme Court ruling on the legality of same-gender civil marriage. On 5 September 2013, they requested the NM Supreme Court to: (1) temporarily halt all district court lawsuits regarding same-gender civil marriage, and (2) issue a special order confirming whether such marriages are legal. On 6 September 2013, the NM Supreme Court scheduled a hearing on 23 October 2013. As of 13 December 2013, 60% of NM residents live in 8 of the 33 counties (Bernalillo, Doña Ana, Grant, Los Alamos, Santa Fe, San Miguel, Taos, Valencia) that are issuing marriage licenses, and over 1,700 same-gender couples have married.
- NEW MEXICO #6 • On 29 August 2013, in Carolyn VanHousen and Gail Gering v. Sandoval County Clerk Eileen Garbagni, a lesbian couple sued after being denied a marriage license.
- NEW MEXICO #7 • On 30 August 2013, a suit to stop Doña Ana County from issuing civil marriage licenses to same-gender couples was filed by 7 NM state lawmakers (Senators Sharer and Neville, and Representatives Gallegos, Hall, Herrell, Roch, and Strickler), who represent only 15% of all NM Republican lawmakers, and only 6% of all NM lawmakers. Since 21 August 2013, over 900 same-gender civil marriage licenses were issued by 8 of the 33 counties (Bernalillo, Doña Ana, Grant, Los Alamos, Santa Fe, San Miguel, Taos, Valencia), covering 58% of the state population. On 3 September 2013, another 8 Republican lawmakers joined the lawsuit.
- NEW YORK #3 • On 19 June 2012, in Jane Roe & Jane Doe v. Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield & St. Joseph's Medical Center, a class action suit for LGBT spouse health benefits was filed in U.S. district court. Additional filings are due 1 November, 3 December, and 17 December 2012. Being self-insured, St. Joseph’s is exempt from federal regulation.
- NORTH CAROLINA #1 • On 13 June 2012, in Marcie Fisher-Borne, et al. v. John Smith, et al., the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued several state judges in federal court on behalf of 6 same-gender couples and their children seeking adoption rights. On 12 July 2013, the ACLU amended the suit to add a demand that the plaintiffs are entitled to marriage. On 20 December 2013, Republican lawmakers engaged free legal help from Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBT law firm, to defend the state’s constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage.
- NORTH CAROLINA #2 • On 15 October 2013, Buncombe County, NC Register of Deeds Drew Reisinger began accepting civil marriage license applications from same-gender couples, and when they applied for their fifth time, Brenda Clark and Carol McCrory became the first such couple in any southern state to be allowed to file an application. The Register said he would ask NC Attorney General Roy Cooper to decide whether the NC statutory and constitutional bans on same-gender civil marriage violate the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause, and whether a license can be issued.
- OHIO #2 • On 19 July 2013, in Jim Obergefell & John Arthur v. OH Public Health Director Theodore Wymyslo, a gay male couple filed a federal lawsuit to have their MD marriage recognized in OH (despite OH’s 2004 constitutional ban on same-gender marriage) before John, who is fatally ill, passes away. On 22 July 2013, the federal court ordered OH to recognize their marriage on any Death Certificate via a temporary injunction while the case proceeds. On 23 July, Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) announced that he will defend OH for the right to discriminate against all other same-gender couples. On 13 August 2013, a federal judge extended the previous temporary restraining order through 31 December 2013. The judge will hear oral arguments on 18 December. On 3 September 2013, the court allowed David Michener to join the lawsuit as an additional plaintiff so that he could be listed as spouse on the Death Certificate of his spouse, William Ives, who died unexpectedly on 22 July 2013. On 24 September 2013, a federal lawsuit to get same-gender couples recognized on Death Certificates was expanded to include all such couples, and Cincinnati, OH funeral director Robert Grunn joined the lawsuit. On 22 October 2013, John Arthur passed away, after winning a temporary order from a federal judge which forced OH to recognize their out-of-state marriage on Mr. Arthur’s death certificate. On 1 November 2013, a federal judge ruled that the suit can proceed, and that OH funeral director Robert Grunn can remain one of the plaintiffs, which will ensure that the outcome (expected in December 2013) applies to every OH same-gender couple married outside of OH. On 23 December 2013, a judge ruled that OH’s ban on same-gender civil marriages (made in OH or anywhere else) is unconstitutional, and ordered OH to recognize such unions on all Death Certificates. On 16 January 2014, OH attorney general Mike DeWine appealed the district court ruling to the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. On 14 February 2014, the plaintiffs asked the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to collect briefs and hear arguments as soon as possible.
OHIO #3 • On 10 February 2014, in Brittani Henry, et al. v. OH Public Health Director Theodore Wymyslo, 4 same-gender couples (3 married lesbian couples who expect to give birth and a gay male couple seeking to adopt) filed a federal lawsuit to force OH to name both parents on the birth certificates.
OHIO #4 • On 18 February 2014, in Alfred Cowger & Anthony Wesley v. U.S. Government, et al., 2 men filed a federal lawsuit because the Affordable Care Act doesn’t recognize their 2012 NY marriage and enroll them in family coverage.
- OKLAHOMA #1 • The November, 2004 federal case of Mary Bishop, et al. v. United States and Tulsa County Court Clerk, et al. challenges the state constitution for denying the right to marry the person of one’s own choice, for refusing to recognize same-gender marriages performed in other states, and for other aspects of the federal Defense-of-Marriage Act. (This is one of 14 cases in which the Republican-controlled House of Representatives defended the DOMA, and charged taxpayers for the cost.) In 2009, after the district court denied the OK governor & OK attorney general’s motion to dismiss, the case reached the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that the couples lacked standing. They amended their complaint, removing the governor and attorney general and adding the Tulsa County Court Clerk who issues marriage licenses. On 28 September 2011, the four plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment. As of 30 March 2012, the court suspended all deadlines, so no trial date was set. The Tulsa, County OK district attorney hired 3 anti-LGBT groups (Alliance Defense Fund, Alliance Defending Freedom, Oklahomans for Protection of Marriage) to defend the state law, and the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives was defending the federal law (both laws being defended at taxpayer expense). On 16 July 2013, the plaintiffs requested permission to file a supplemental brief. On 18 July 2013, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner announced that the Republican-controlled Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) had ceased defending DOMA in all 14 of the federal lawsuits on which it wasted $3 million in taxpayer funds, including this one. On 26 July 2013, plaintiffs asked for final judgment in their favor regarding DOMA §3, based upon the U.S. Supreme Court’s Windsor decision (26 June 2013). On 2 August 2013, BLAG withdrew from the case, leaving the United States as the only defendant. On 22 December 2013, lawyers filed a brief pointing to the federal ruling two days earlier in which UT’s marriage ban was declared unconstitutional. On 14 January 2014, the federal district court ruled that the OK ban on same-gender civil marriage is unconstitutional. That ruling is stayed pending appeal(s). On 16 January 2014, Tulsa County Clerk Sally Howe Smith, represented by the notorious anti-LGBT group, Alliance Defending Freedom, appealed to the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. On 17 January 2014, OK requested the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to: (1) set a fast briefing schedule; (2) assign this appeal to the same judges hearing the UT appeal; and (3) allow amicus briefs to be filed jointly covering both cases. On 24 January 2014, 2 of the 4 plaintiffs appealed the district court’s ruling that they don’t have standing to challenge: (1) OK’s refusal to recognize their CA marriage, (2) part B of the Oklahoma constitutional amendment, and (3) Defense of Marriage Act, Section 2. On 28 January 2014, the Tenth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decided to review the OK and UT appeals (a) on a fast-track schedule, and (b) by the same panel of judges. The appeals will be briefed separately and argued separately, while the OK defendant's appeal and the OK plaintiffs’ cross-appeal about out-of-state marriages will be reviewed together. The OK appeal schedule is: cross-appeal 1st brief by 24 February, 2nd/supplemental briefs by 17 March, 3rd brief by 1 April, optional reply brief by 7 April, and oral arguments after 7 April.
OKLAHOMA #2 & PENNSYLVANIA #11 • In March 2014, in Kathleen Sebelius, et al., v. Hobby Lobby Stores (PA), and in Contestoga Wood Specialties (OK) v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al., the U.S. Supreme Court is slated to decide: (1) whether a for-profit corporation can claim to hold a religious belief; and (2) whether that belief gives that corporation sweeping immunity from state and federal laws.
- OREGON #2 & #4 • On 15 October 2013, in Deanna Geiger et al. v. OR Governor John Kitzhaber et al., two women filed a federal lawsuit challenging OR’s constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage, and OR’s refusal to recognize legal marriages from other jurisdictions. On 19 December 2013, in Paul Rummell, et al. v. OR Governor John Kitzhaber, et al., 2 Portland couples filed a federal lawsuit challenging OR’s ban on same-gender civil marriage, and on 23 January 2014, the two cases were combined. On 20 February 2014, the OR attorney general, joining attorneys general from CA, IL, NV, PA, and VA, confirmed she will not defend the OR constitutional ban on same-gender civil marriage because it violates the U.S. Constitution. Arguments are scheduled for 23 April 2014.
- OREGON #5 • On 17 January 2014, in Rachel Cryer & Laurel Bowman vs. Sweet Cakes by Melissa Bakery, the OR Bureau of Labor and Industries decided that a bakery violated the civil rights of a same-gender couple by refusing to bake a cake for the women’s wedding. If the state is unsuccessful helping the parties reach a settlement, the Bureau may pursue court charges. The bakers insist that their religion compels them to unlawfully discriminate against same-gender couples. Equality opponents often cite this case when arguing that marriage equality laws eliminate religious freedom.
- PENNSYLVANIA #5 • On 9 July 2013, in Ed Hill & David Palmer v. Pennsylvania, a retired gay couple, together for over 25 years, sued to have their ME marriage recognized in PA.
- PENNSYLVANIA #6 • On 30 July 2013, in Pennsylvania Health Department v. Montgomery County Court Clerk Bruce Hanes, PA sued a county clerk who eventually issued 174 same-gender civil marriage licenses. Clerk Bruce Hanes and Attorney General Kathleen Kane both say that the state marriage ban is unconstitutional. On 2 August 2013, county attorneys asked the state court to transfer the case to the state Supreme Court. On 19 August 2013, 32 same-gender couples who received licenses from Hanes asked the court for permission to join Hanes as defendants. On 11 September 2013, a state court ruled in favor of the PA Health Department, and ordered the clerk to stop issuing civil marriage licenses to same-gender couples. On 1 October 2013, the county appealed to the PA Supreme Court. On 2 December 2013, lawyers for Hanes urged the PA Supreme Court to overturn the order that stopped Hanes from issuing any more same-gender civil marriage licenses.
- PENNSYLVANIA #7 • On 25 September 2013, in Sasha Ballen, et al. v. PA Governor Tom Corbett, et al., attorney Alexander Bilus sued in state court for 28 couples who claim that (1) the PA same-gender civil marriage ban violates both the PA and the U.S. constitutions, and (2) the legality of the plaintiffs’ Montgomery County, PA marriages should be affirmed. On 18 February 2014, PA asked the court to dismiss the suit.
- PENNSYLVANIA #8 • On 26 September 2013, in Cara Palladino & Isabelle Barker v. PA Governor Corbett et al., a couple filed a federal suit to force PA to recognize their 2005 MA marriage. The Equality Forum suit raises two new federal constitutional questions (whether states must respect laws from other states, and whether citizens can travel between states without losing rights). On 9 December 2013, PA Attorney General Kathleen Kane sought to be dismissed as a defendant because her office was not involved in violating the plaintiffs’ rights. On 13 January 2014, the plaintiffs asked the court skip the trial and issue a summary judgment.
- PENNSYLVANIA #9 • On 25 October 2013, in Barbara Baus v. Pennsylvania, Ms. Baus objected to paying a 15% tax of about $11,000 for inheriting the estate of her wife Catherine Burgi-Rios.
- PENNSYLVANIA #10 • On 30 October 2013, in Nancy Nixon v. PA Department of Revenue, Ms. Nixon sought to overturn a $21,000 inheritance tax bill on the estate of her partner Jeanne Schwartz.
- PENNSYLVANIA #11 & OKLAHOMA #2 • In March 2014, in Kathleen Sebelius, et al., v. Hobby Lobby Stores (PA), and in Contestoga Wood Specialties (OK) v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al., the U.S. Supreme Court is slated to decide: (1) whether a for-profit corporation can claim to hold a religious belief; and (2) whether that belief gives that corporation sweeping immunity from state and federal laws.
- SOUTH CAROLINA • On 28 August 2013, in Katherine Bradacs & Tracie Goodwin v. SC Governor Nimrata Haley, et al., a lesbian couple filed a federal lawsuit challenging the SC Defense-of-Marriage Law and the SC 2007 constitutional amendment banning same-gender civil marriage. On 14 November 2013, Judge Joe Anderson of Columbia, SC recused himself from the case because as an executive board member of a Boy Scouts of America council, he (1) voted to ban LGBT Scout leaders, and (2) voted to fire a Scoutmaster who (a) brought her partner to a BSA event, and (b) is one of the plaintiffs in the case.
- TENNESSEE #1 • On 7 August 2013, same-gender couples began applying for marriage licenses as the first step of an upcoming court challenge to two same-gender civil marriage bans (statutory and constitutional).
- TENNESSEE #2 • On 21 October 2013, in Valerica Tanco, et al. v. TN Governor William Haslam, et al., four legally married same-gender couples filed suit in U.S. District Court in Nashville, in a constitutional challenge to the TN law that bans recognition of their marriages. On 19 November 2013, National Center for Lesbian Rights attorneys representing 4 legally married same-gender couples asked a federal court for immediate protection of their families while their lawsuit challenging the TN marriage ban proceeds.
- TEXAS #1 • In January 2009, in J.B. and H.B. vs. Dallas County, TX, the plaintiffs, a gay male couple, sought to dissolve their MA marriage. In September 2009, the district court ruled that the state’s 2005 marriage ban amendment was unconstitutional, and that same-gender divorce was possible. In August 2010, the state court of appeals overturned that decision. In March 2011, the plaintiffs appealed to the state Supreme Court. On 3 July 2013, the TX Supreme Court ordered supplemental briefs about impacts of the U.S. Supreme Court decisions that overturned DOMA §3 and denied standing to the authors of CA Proposition 8. The briefs are due 18 July, 29 July, and 6 August 2013. On 5 November 2013, the TX Supreme Court heard arguments.
- TEXAS #2 • On 25 July 2013, in TX v. Angelique Naylor & Sabrina Daly, TX Attorney General (and candidate for governor) Greg Abbott (R) filed a brief arguing that couples in same-gender civil marriages from other states can’t get a divorce in TX. Final briefs are due by 6 August 2013 regarding impacts of the U.S. Supreme Court decisions that overturned DOMA §3 and denied standing to the authors of CA Proposition 8. On 5 November 2013, the TX Supreme Court heard arguments.
TEXAS #4 • In October 2011, William Flowers appealed a decision by a Houston, TX judge that he can’t leave his children alone with his husband, Jim Evans, because the husband is not related by blood or adoption. Oral arguments were heard in November 2012.
TEXAS #6 • On 18 September 2013, in Nikki Araguz v. Texas, a trans woman argued before 3 state appeals court judges that they should overturn the 2010 state court decision that denied her $600,000 in death benefits just because she was born a male, which makes her TX marriage to her former (now deceased) firefighter husband invalid. On 13 February 2014, a 3-judge TX appeals court panel overturned the lower court ruling that had voided the marriage, and thus prevented her from receiving the estate of her deceased firefighter husband. The appeals court returned the case to the district court to determine the plaintiff’s gender at the time of her husband’s death.
- TEXAS #7 • On 9 September 2013, 16 TX state representatives told the TX Military Forces to: (1) stop denying equal pay and benefits to all same-gender married military couples at all TX National Guard facilities, (2) stop denying membership in family readiness groups, and (3) stop denying participation in marriage enrichment retreats. On 13 September 2013, in Alicia Butler & Judith Chedville vs. Texas, Lambda Legal told the TX Military Forces that since 3 September 2013 it has been unlawful to deny equal federal pay and benefits to any same-gender married military couple, and the TX ban on same-gender civil marriage does not exempt TX from compliance. Chedville is an Army nurse and Iraq war veteran, and a 1st Lieutenant in the Army National Guard. On 31 October 2013, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel directed Army National Guard units nationwide to process benefit applications for all personnel with same-gender spouses, regardless of local marriage laws, especially at the 114 bases in 9 states: FL, GA, IN, LA, MS, OK, SC, TX, and WV. (1) On 1 November 2013, the IN Army National Guard confirmed that it has been processing benefits for same-gender couples since 1 October, and that even though some applications were temporarily delayed, no benefits were ever denied, and no federal law was broken. (2) On 1 November 2013, the WV Army National Guard confirmed that it had begun processing ID cards at state facilities for same-gender couples. (3) On 1 November 2013, SC Army National Guard Col. Ronald Taylor confirmed that all initial applications for spouse benefits must be submitted at federal facilities (McEntire, Eastover, Greenville, Fort Jackson, Charleston, Parris Island/Beaufort, Ft. Gordon, GA, Ft. Stewart, GA, Charlotte, NC, and Ft. Bragg, NC). (4) On 5 November 2013, the FL Army National Guard began issuing full benefits to same-gender couples by using only federal facilities to process benefit applications. On 22 November 2013, Army National Guard Bureau General Frank Grass, under orders from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, met with state generals and notified them that all service members and spouses must receive 100% of the federally funded ID cards and federally funded benefits that they have earned, regardless of any state-level bans on same-gender civil marriage. (5) On 7 November 2013, OK ceased processing benefits for all personnel, thereby ending its discrimination against personnel with same-gender spouses. (6) On 26 November 2013, TX Military Forces (TX Army National Guard) agreed to process benefits applications for military personnel with same-gender spouses in TX, but only if the U.S. Department of Defense provides all funding, personnel, and systems. (7) On 3 December 2014, LA Army National Guard Lt. Col. Michael Mazmierzak confirmed that LA now issues same-gender spouse benefits by using federal personnel, funds, and systems for processing applications. On 9 December 2013, GA Army National Guard began to process spouse benefit applications for military personnel with same-gender spouses. On 13 December 2013, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel confirmed that MS had stopped discriminating, and that all 50 states deliver all benefits to same-gender spouses of Army National Guard personnel (active duty, dependents, retired). IN and WV accept applications from and issue cards to everyone, but GA, LA, MS, and TX use only federal workers to enroll applicants and issue ID cards, and FL, OK, and SC moved the equipment to federal property, forcing all couples to travel longer distances.
- TEXAS #8 • On 28 October 2013, in Cleopatra De Leon, et al., v. TX Governor Rick Perry et al., two same-gender couples represented by Lambda Legal filed a federal class action lawsuit for all TX couples, challenging the 2003 law and the 2005 TX constitutional ban on marriage inside and outside TX. On 22 November 2013, the plaintiffs asked that the court halt the ban at the start of the case, instead of at the end, so that marriages may take place while the case proceeds. On 11 December 2013, the judge agreed to hear the case starting 12 February 2014. On 7 January 2014, the judge denied anti-LGBT group Texas Values permission to file a friend-of-the-court brief (which cited work by discredited University of Texas assistant professor Dr. Mark Regnerus) because the brief cited no legal authority, and did nothing to resolve the legal issues. Texas Values wrote that same-gender couples are inferior to mixed-gender couples, and that the American Psychological Association wrongly concluded that LGBT parents raise well-adjusted children. On 9 January 2014, the judge rejected an effort by the TX attorney general to consolidate two other suits into this one. On 9 January 2014, the judge rejected an effort by the TX attorney general to consolidate two other suits (Shannon Zahrn, et al. v. TX Governor Rick Perry, et al., and Christopher McNosky, et al. v. TX Governor Rick Perry, et al.) into this one. On 12 February 2014, the court heard oral arguments, and a motion for a preliminary injunction to stop the state from enforcing the ban during the litigation. On 26 February 2014, a federal judge declared that the TX 2003 law and 2005 ban on same-gender civil marriage both violate the U.S. Constitution, but stayed his decision until appeals are completed. The next day, TX scheduled an appeal for May 2014.
- TEXAS #9 • On 17 December 2013, in Jack Pidegon & Larry Hicks vs. Houston Mayor Annise Parker, et al., with plaintiffs represented by Harris County GOP Chairman Jared Woodfill, a TX district judge temporarily prohibited Houston, TX from offering partner benefits to same-gender couples. On 20 December 2013, Houston said it will appeal the 17 December court order barring domestic partner benefits for same-gender spouses of city employees. On 31 December 2013, Houston’s attorney got the case moved from state district family court into federal court, where the next court date is 6 January 2014. On 2 January 2014, the federal judge denied the Houston Republican Party’s request for a stay against the city policy of providing equal benefits, and reversed the district court approval of that stay. Republican plaintiffs said they will try to move the case back to state court on 21 January 2014.
- TEXAS #10 • On 26 December 2013, in Noel Freeman, et al. v. Houston, TX Mayor Anise Parker, et al., Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit seeking to restore worker benefits for same-gender spouses.
- TEXAS #11 • On 31 October 2013, in Shannon Zahrn, et al. v. TX Governor Rick Perry, et al., 2 same-gender couples filed a federal class action suit seeking equal marriage rights for all TX couples, and challenging the TX statutory and constitutional bans on same-gender civil marriage. On 9 January 2014, the judge for Cleopatra De Leon, et al., v. TX Governor Rick Perry et al. rejected an effort by the TX attorney general to consolidate this case and Christopher McNosky, et al. v. TX Governor Rick Perry, et al. into the De Leon case.
- TEXAS #12 • On 29 July 2013, in Christopher McNosky, et al. v. TX Governor Rick Perry, et al., a same-gender couple representing themselves filed a federal lawsuit seeking equal marriage rights, challenging the TX statutory and constitutional bans on same-gender civil marriage. On 9 January 2014, the judge for Cleopatra De Leon, et al., v. TX Governor Rick Perry et al. rejected an effort by the TX attorney general to consolidate this case and Shannon Zahrn, et al. v. TX Governor Rick Perry, et al. into the De Leon case.
- UTAH #1 • On 25 March 2013, in Kitchen, et al. v. Utah Governor Gary Herbert, et al., 3 couples filed a federal lawsuit challenging UT’s constitutional amendment banning same-gender civil marriage, passed 66%-to-33% in 2004. The plaintiffs are one gay couple, one lesbian couple, and a second lesbian couple whose IA marriage is ignored by UT. On 11 October 2013, UT Governor Herbert requested a summary judgment favoring the state, and argued that: (1) marriage is not a right; (2) states can deny marriage to certain citizens; (3) “responsible procreation” is a reason to exclude same-gender couples, and (4) same-gender parents raising children is harmful. Plaintiffs also requested a summary judgment in their favor, and argued that UT’s constitutional ban restricts rights and liberties. The court heard both motions for summary judgment on 4 December 2013. On 20 December 2013, the court declared the ban an irrational, unconstitutional denial of a fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution, and allowed marriages to begin the same day. On 22 December 2013, the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals denied UT’s request to stay (suspend) the district court ruling while the district court decides whether to suspend its own ruling during the time that the case is on appeal. On 23 December 2013, UT made the request again, and the Court of Appeals denied it again. On 23 December, UT made a 3rd request for a stay, and Federal District Judge Robert Shelby denied it. On 24 December, UT made a 4th request for a stay, and the Court of Appeals denied it, mainly because: (a) the appeal appears likely to fail; (b) the lack of a stay is not likely to cause irreparable harm to the state; (c) a stay is likely to harm the plaintiff couples who now can marry legally, and (d) lack of a stay is not likely to harm the public interest. UT then announced that it will make a 5th request to the U.S. Supreme Court, where Justice Sonia Sotomayor will grant the stay, or deny the stay, or ask the full Court to decide. On 27 December 2013, Republican lawmakers committed about $2 million for opposing marriage equality in the U.S. Appeals Court and the U.S. Supreme Court. On 30 December 2013, the Appeals Court set the expedited schedule: state’s appeal brief by 27 January, couples’ response brief by 18 February, state’s reply brief by 25 February, oral arguments in March. On 31 December 2013, UT asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the original ruling and suspend same-gender civil marriages while appeals go through the U.S. Tenth Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. On 3 January 2014, the same-gender couples filed a reply. On 6 January 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the district court ruling until the Appeals Court ruling is issued. On 8 January 2014, National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) joined as co-counsel for the plaintiffs. On 8 January 2014, the UT Attorney General said that for the 2,720 people who married a same-gender spouse from 20 December through 6 January, those marriages are doubtful, and their validity will be determined by appeals to the Tenth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in 2014 and possibly the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015. In the meantime, recognition and benefits for those 2,720 citizens will be decided by a special review team, on a case-by-case basis. On 9 January, the UT Attorney General confirmed that a marriage certificate can be completed for each marriage that was performed prior to the decision to issue a stay. On 9 January 2014, Human Rights Campaign asked the U.S. government to recognize all same-gender couples who were legally married in UT between 20 December 2013 and 6 January 2014. On 10 January 2014, the U.S. government confirmed that it recognizes all same-gender civil marriages performed in UT from 20 December 2013 through 6 January 2014. On 16 January 2014, UT decided to pay $300,000 to the 3 attorneys who, with help from 2 UT state employees, will argue to ban same-gender civil marriage before the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Their fee for the U.S. Supreme Court appeal would be similar. On 17 January, UT asked the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals for 10 extra days to write its arguments opposing same-gender civil marriage, and the plaintiffs opposed that request. On 21 January 2014, the Appeals Court allowed UT 7 extra days to prepare, so the opening brief is due 3 February, the response brief 25 February, and any reply brief 4 March, with oral arguments in March or April. On 28 January 2014, the Tenth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decided to review both the UT and OK cases (a) on a fast-track schedule, and (b) by the same panel of judges. The UT and OK appeals will be briefed separately and argued separately. The UT appeal schedule is: last filings 4 March; oral arguments 10 April.
- UTAH #2 • On 21 January 2014, in Jonell Evans, et al. v. State of Utah, ACLU sued UT in state court (a) for ignoring the marriages of 2,600 people who were legally married as same-gender couples in UT, and (b) for harming their children. On 6 February 2014, the plaintiffs asked for an expedited hearing. On 28 February 2014, UT argued that over 1,000 same-gender civil marriages performed for UT couples between 20 December 2013 and 6 January 2014 may get voided by the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in summer 2014, but the ACLU argued that those marriages would always remain fully legal no matter what the Appeals Court decides.
- UTAH #3 • On 28 January 2014, in Jonell Evans, et al. v. Utah, an ACLU suit to force UT to recognize about 1360 marriages performed from 20 December 2013 through 2 January 2014, the case was moved from state court to a federal court.
- UTAH #4 • On 30 January 2014, in Kate Doe & Beth Roe v. Utah, a lesbian couple sued UT for refusing to recognize their 2010 marriage in another state.
- VIRGINIA #1 • On 18 July 2013, in Timothy Bostic, et al. vs. VA 4th Circuit Court Clerk George Schaefer, et al., a gay couple filed a federal lawsuit challenging VA’s 2006 ban on same-gender marriage, joined by a lesbian couple seeking to have their 2008 CA marriage recognized in VA. The court assigned an expedited schedule. On 30 September 2013, AFER (American Foundation for Equal Rights), the sole sponsor of the lawsuit which defeated CA Proposition 8, joined this lawsuit to win full federal marriage equality nationwide. On 3 October 2013, VA Attorney General (and candidate for governor) Ken Cucinelli argued that same-gender civil marriage should be banned because: (1) some religious beliefs from the 1500s also ban it; (2) some dictionaries still describe marriage as only between mixed-gender couples; and (3) some mixed-gender couples procreate. On 21 January 2014, the plaintiffs’ attorneys asked the court to follow the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals recent ruling, and apply heightened scrutiny (the assumption that a law is probably discriminatory) when evaluating VA’s marriage ban. On 23 January 2014, VA’s new attorney general, Mark Herring, said that VA’s ban on same-gender civil marriage violates the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment (equal protection, due process), and that instead of defending the ban, he will join plaintiffs in two lawsuits arguing that it be struck down. A hearing is scheduled for 2 February 2014. On 28 January 2014, VA Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) told dozens of Republican lawmakers he would not appoint any special prosecutor to defend the VA same-gender civil marriage ban. On 13 February 2014, the federal judge declared the VA ban unconstitutional. On 24 February 2014, two defendants (Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk George Schaefer and State Registrar of Vital Records Janet Rainey) appealed the 13 February ruling to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is likely to also hear similar cases this year from NC, SC, and WV. VA Attorney General Mark Herring requested an expedited appeal schedule. On 25 February 2014, Prince William County Court Clerk Michele McQuigg joined Prince Norfolk Circuit Court Clerk Schaefer and VA State Registrar Janet Rainey in filing a notice to appeal the federal court ruling declaring VA’s constitutional ban on same-gender marriage unconstitutional. All 3 defendants claim that same-gender couples make inferior parents. On 25 February, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals announced that defendants’ opening briefs are due 7 April 2014, the response brief is due 9 May 2014, and any reply brief is due 14 days after the response brief is delivered. On 26 February 2014, Lambda Legal, ACLU, and attorney Paul Smith requested permission to intervene in AFER’s case, while their own class action case, Harris v. Rainey, awaits a ruling.
- VIRGINIA #2 • On 1 August 2013, in Joanne Harris, et al. vs. VA State Registrar Janet Rainey, et al., the ACLU, ACLU Virginia, and Lambda Legal filed a federal class action lawsuit for two couples seeking full marriage equality for all VA residents, including couples married elsewhere. On 30 September 2013, ACLU and Lambda Legal asked for a summary judgment. On 29 October 2013, federal judge Michael Urbanski considered whether: (1) to certify the case of two couples as a class action representing all same-gender couples in VA; and (2) whether to dismiss the governor and a circuit court clerk as defendants, leaving only the state vital records registrar. On 29 October 2013, the original date for arguing the merits of the case (3 January 2014) was canceled, and it may be re-scheduled. On 23 December 2013, a federal court refused to dismiss the case, but removed the governor as a defendant. On 31 January 2014, the court granted class-action status, so the case now affects all same-gender couples. On 27 January 2014, VA Attorney General Mark Herring notified the court that VA’s state laws banning same-gender civil marriage are unconstitutional, that VA is reversing its position in the case, that he will not defend them, and that he will argue that they are unconstitutional. On 28 January 2014, VA Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) told dozens of Republican lawmakers he would not appoint any special prosecutor to defend the VA same-gender civil marriage ban. On 20 February 2014, the judge began considering whether to stay the case pending an Appeals Court decision in Timothy Bostic, et al. vs. VA State Registrar Janet Rainey, et al., noted the plaintiffs’ request that he not issue any stay on his ruling, and said he does not need to hear oral arguments because he already has both the written briefs and the Bostic transcript.
- VIRGINIA #3 • On 3 October 2013, in National Organization for Marriage v. U.S. Internal Revenue Service, NOM filed a federal lawsuit claiming that IRS unlawfully released NOM’s confidential tax data.
- WASHINGTON #1 • On 28 June 2013, in Freed & Robert Ingersoll v. Florist Baronelle Stutzman, and WA State v. Florist Baronelle Stutzman, and Florist Baronelle Stutzman v. WA State, Benton County Superior Court Judge Salvador Mendoza: (1) refused to recuse himself from the cases; and (2) consolidated the first two lawsuits, in which a commercial florist refused to deliver flowers for the wedding of two gay men, in violation of the 2006 consumer protection and sexual orientation discrimination laws. ACLU represents the couple, and the anti-LGBT organization Alliance Defending Freedom represents the florist.
WEST VIRGINIA • On 1 October 2013, in Casie Jo McGee, et al. v. Cabell County Clerk Karen Cole, et al., Fairness WV and Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit for 3 couples challenging the state law that bans marriage equality. On 23 October 2013, the U.S. District court gave clerks from Kanawha and Cabell counties up to 60 extra days to respond to the suit, so that WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey can decide whether to intervene. On 22 November 2013, the WV Attorney General announced that he will defend the WV ban on same-gender civil marriage. On 17 December 2013, the WV attorney general asked the judge to dismiss the suit, arguing that the plaintiffs, who are not now legally married anywhere, are suffering no harm. On 31 December 2013, the plaintiffs asked for a summary judgment. On 28 January, the judge denied WV’s motion to dismiss the suit, and ruled that most of the suit can proceed, but because none of the plaintiffs is actually married, none have legal standing to challenge WV for ignoring out-of-state marriages.
- WISCONSIN • On 17 September 2012, in Julaine Appling, et al., v. WI Governor Scott Walker, et al., the WI Supreme Court declined to review a case challenging the state’s 2009 domestic partnership law which covers 2,300 couples, and the court upheld a lower court’s ruling that that law does not violate the state’s 2006 constitutional ban on same-gender marriage, because domestic partnership offers only 43 of the 200 rights that come with full marriage. The case returned to the 4th District Court of Appeals for a hearing, and on 21 December 2012, the WI Court of Appeals upheld as constitutional the state’s 2009 Domestic Partner Registry law, and rejected arguments of the anti-LGBT group Wisconsin Family Action as “nonsense.” WFA appealed again. On 14 June 2013, the WI Supreme Court accepted the case. On 23 October 2013, 7 WI Supreme Court justices heard arguments, considered altering the existing domestic partner law, and adjourned without a decision, which is expected by summer 2014. The law is being defended by Fair Wisconsin and Lambda Legal.
WISCONSIN #2 • On 3 February 2014, in Virginia Wolf & Carol Schumacher, et al., v. WI Governor Scott Walker, et al., ACLU filed a federal lawsuit for 4 couples challenging the 2006 WI ban on same-gender civil marriage or civil union, and WI's unique ban on marrying elsewhere, for which each spouse faces up to $10,000 in fines and 9 months in prison as soon as they return to WI. On 28 February 2014, the ACLU added 4 more couples to the suit, bringing the total to 8 couples, and asked for an injunction against the WI same-gender civil marriage ban while the lawsuit is pending. A hearing is scheduled for 27 March 2014.
Send questions and comments to Ned Flaherty: NFlaherty@MarriageEquality.org.