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Cari Searcy, successful plaintiff in federal challenge to Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban, files new lawsuit for immediate adoption order

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis is refusing to issue a final adoption order in the case of Cari Searcy, the successful plaintiff in Searcy v. Strange, the challenge to Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban. The judge filed an order that noted he wouldn’t allow the adoption to be final until after the Supreme Court issues its decision in the marriage cases later this year.

Now Searcy is suing the probate judge in federal court, asking for an order “commanding” the judge “to grant the adoption” immediately. Searcy is also asking the federal court to “strik[e]” the probate judge’s previous order putting off a final decision.

Searcy has been married since 2008 and the couple’s child was born in 2005, according to the complaint.

The complaint notes that the Mobile County probate judge has issued similar orders granting adoptions in couples involving heterosexual couples, but this order is “materially different” in that it puts off final resolution until some future point.

Searcy asks for a preliminary injunction in her complaint, so we could see some movement in this case soon.

Judge Granade is presiding over this case as well as the others that have been decided in recent weeks.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings

15 Comments

  • 1. 1grod  |  February 24, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    While Judge Granada considers Searcy' s request, I amuse that by 10 am yesterday, the Alabama's Policy Institute and the Citizens' Action Program filed their Reply with AL's Supreme Court – having been given an extension from February 20. Has their brief been posted What is the next step(s?

  • 2. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  February 24, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    Is there a reason why Searcy didn't just ask Granade to hold probie in contempt? >..<

  • 3. sfbob  |  February 24, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    If I were in her situation I'd want the court order to be as specific as possible. Otherwise Davis will no doubt find some way to honor only a part of it.

    I think his intent is that a new suit will be required for each letter of his signature on the adoption order.

  • 4. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  February 24, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    But wouldn't a contempt holding be a bigger message sent to the rest of the state?

    In my honest opinion, scare the pants off these guys!

  • 5. sfbob  |  February 24, 2015 at 5:19 pm

    I don't disagree with your goal of conveying a message to the rest of the state. I suspect the plaintiffs' goal however is to make sure the adoption is finalized sooner rather than later. Hold the judge in contempt and he could sit in jail until June; meanwhile the adoption order just sits there.

  • 6. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  February 24, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    True. Ugh, hopefully this is the last step for them.

  • 7. Elihu_Bystander  |  February 24, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    "Is there a reason why Searcy didn't just ask Granade to hold probie in contempt?"

    Yes, he was not a named defendant in Searcy v Strange. And as was pointed out by another EoTer in another heading. The Searcy v Strange is completed; so, an amended complaint to that case was no longer available.

    Also note this suit is individually and in his official capacity.

    The complaint at 27. "Defendant Hon. Don Davis acts and omissions were intentional, malicious, willful, wanton, and in gross reckless disregard of Plaintiff's constitutional rights." (The only additive they left out was vile as provided by another commenter.)

    "WHEREFORE, the premises considered, the Plaintiff respectfully requests that the Court enter an Order as follows:
    "(d) Awarding compensatory, consequential, and other damages (including punitive
    damages if the Court deems it appropriate); …"

  • 8. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  February 24, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    But he was named later in Strawser? I think that's why I'm getting these two cases confused. Lol.

  • 9. 1grod  |  February 24, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    The Advocacy Groups were given permission to make a single Reply submission of up to 50 pages. http://www.scribd.com/doc/256416972/1140460-Order
    Did they meet the deadline?

  • 10. Elihu_Bystander  |  February 24, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    Yes, he was initially a defendant in the Strawser case, but he was dismissed as redundant. Then when it was apparent that probate judges were not under the supervision of the AL AG he was added back in. That was possible because Strawser was still at the preliminary injunction phase. I must give credit to another EOTer for this explanation.

  • 11. VIRick  |  February 24, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    "…. 'Strawser' was still at the preliminary injunction phase."

    The "Strawser" case is still at the preliminary injunction phase, and will remain so until all appeals have been finalized, and until well after Judge Granade is then totally satisfied that all state officials and county probate judges are following her orders.

  • 12. DeadHead  |  February 25, 2015 at 3:38 am

    They were told they couldn't get married. They said, 'But we're straight.' Alabama said, 'I know.' … These lovebirds almost do a better job arguing this case than lawyers before the Supreme Court. Almost. http://www.upworthy.com/they-were-told-they-could

  • 13. StraightDave  |  February 25, 2015 at 7:05 am

    IMO putting a judge in real jail is the #1 way to get shit done quickly.

  • 14. Eric  |  February 25, 2015 at 9:34 am

    This story reminds me of back in 2004, on the second day of marriages, where I watched a woman drag her fiancé to the front of the line at the clerks office in San Francisco asking to get married. The clerk explained to the woman that all the people standing in line were waiting to get married too. The woman complained that she would have to wait all day. To which the clerk replied, "these people have been waiting decades. Next."

  • 15. 1grod  |  March 2, 2015 at 7:20 am

    Wolf: Contempt you say, Judge Don Davies says toss-out the Searcy adoption case, at least postpone hearing. http://www.al.com/news/mobile/index.ssf/2015/03/m

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