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Alabama round-up

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

There were quite a few filings in recent days in the Alabama marriage cases:

– Liberty Counsel’s reply brief in the Alabama Supreme Court action has been filed, and at the link you’ll also find two previously unreported responses to the petition by probate judges.

– In Hard v. Bentley, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) case filed in the Middle District of Alabama, the administrator to David Fancher’s estate filed a request that was subsequently granted, to intervene in the case to pay the disputed funds from the wrongful death benefits into the court for the court to give to the person who’s entitled to the funds once the underlying recognition case is worked out. David Fancher was Paul Hard’s husband until he died in a car accident involving a trucking company. Hard sued for wrongful death, but was presumed to not be entitled to the funds since Alabama doesn’t recognize his marriage. He sued for recognition of his marriage in federal court. That case is still pending. However, because of other cases recently won in Alabama, his marriage has been recognized by the state. There’s been no ruling in his case on his motion for summary judgment. Fancher’s mother is arguing she is entitled to the funds and that the marriage ban should not be struck down. The administrator to Fancher’s estate only sought intervention to hand the funds over.

– In Hedgepeth, the case filed in Mobile attempting to get its probate offices to open and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Alabama’s attorney general filed a motion to dismiss the claims against him, saying there’s nothing he has or has not done in this situation that relates to the case. Also linked is an agreed-upon dismissal of county defendants and a preliminary scheduling order.

– In Strawser, the case now being litigated by the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) Alabama’s attorney general has filed an answer to the complaint.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. brandall  |  February 25, 2015 at 8:21 am

    Hard v. Bentley:

    About 1983, when I lived in New York City, one of my first friends that I lost to AIDS was the President of Marvel Comics and lived in a beautiful Manhattan apartment with his partner of 3 years. The day after he passed away, his mother came to New York with the police and literally threw the partner out of the apartment and onto the street since he was not on the apartment lease. She paid the rent for 3 months and left New York. The apartment sat empty and the partner had to deal with his loss while sleeping on the couches of friends. I believe they would have married, if they had been allowed at that time.

    Things are getting better 30 years later, but we're not completely there yet.

  • 2. LK2013  |  February 25, 2015 at 8:37 am

    Truly horrible … and multiplied by millions of people over the ages … so glad it's changing. But it's true that even as it gets better, the stain of eons of discrimination and erasure have a deep effect. You can see it lifting in the eyes and faces of people who are breaking through for the first time, and getting married after decades of dealing with the burdens of prejudice. There is so much joy there, and we all know what it's pushing aside …

  • 3. brandall  |  February 25, 2015 at 9:30 am

    National media coverage is expanding for "Christian Florist Won't Play Judas by Betraying Jesus for Money in Gay Wedding Flap" ….. Under the guise of religious freedom, she's now traveling to other states to speak at rallies and was on Fox TV.

    Let's substitute the word "gay" in the headline and we should see:

    Christian Florist Won't Play Judas by Betraying Jesus for Money in Israeli Wedding Flap
    Christian Florist Won't Play Judas by Betraying Jesus for Money in Interracial Wedding Flap
    Christian Florist Won't Play Judas by Betraying Jesus for Money in Muslim Wedding Flap

    Today, there is this headline, "NC Senate OK's bill to let court officials recuse selves from marriage duties for gay couples" again using religious freedom.

    We could substitute with more types of couples, "NC Senate OK's bill to let court officials recuse selves from marriage duties for [Interfaith] [Divorced] [Pork-eating] [Nudist] couples.

    We don't see these other types of headlines. We only read gay, gay, gay. The marriage bans backfired by providing us with the legal ammunition to use the Constitution to overrule them. The states would have been better off doing nothing rather than codifying discrimination into their constitutions. And yes, we had to use several decades of rulings to build up to winning ME.

    These new and even more blatant and pin-pointed gay headlines will someday change when we, yet again, go to SCOTUS. The animus is now so obvious and easier to prove. This will be a faster fight than the marriage bans. And again, these will backfire on those who think they are being smart and clever.

  • 4. RemC_Chicago  |  February 25, 2015 at 9:54 am

    All sorts of ideas for insane bills are continuing to pop up all over the country—Iowa, West Virginia, North Carolina—it's almost unbelievable that the hate can be so pervasive as to motivate these legislators to act. We've all repeated our obvious observations about these issues to each other—that one's married life has no impact on any one else's, that we are not a theocracy, that civil marriage does not belong in a religious institution, that discrimination is wrong, that the rights of the minority should never be subjected to popular vote, and on and on and on.These are logical, informed arguments that apparently have no place in the legislatures. I fantasize about having a moment to ask each of these elected officials—really and truly, what the h*** are you afraid of? Do you really think that the lives of a small minority of the population can have any lasting, detrimental impact on the lives of the majority? I fantasize about having a moment to ask each of these elected officials—what the friggin' h*** are you afraid of? Do you really think that the lives of a small minority of the population can have any lasting, detrimental impact on the lives of the majority? What can you point to to validate your attacks? More and more, I'm wondering what our country would be like if we had split it in two in 1865.

  • 5. MichaelGrabow  |  February 25, 2015 at 10:21 am

    These people really are fucking nuts.

    Sen. Jackson: sb2 would allow magistrates to refuse to perform interracial marriages and interfaith marriages.

  • 6. brandall  |  February 25, 2015 at 10:50 am

    OMG, I wrote my root comment above about 1 hour ago about substituting "gay" for interracial or interfaith. I swear I had not read this article. Now, I look prescient.

  • 7. Eric  |  February 25, 2015 at 10:50 am

    I hope someone is tracking all these bills, it would make a good amicus brief to SCOTUS on how gays are politically powerless and need the protections of strict scrutiny.

  • 8. guitaristbl  |  February 25, 2015 at 11:08 am

    Off topic : If today's oral arguments before the Supreme Court in EEPC v. Abercrombie & Fitch lead to a comprehensive decision and it is not stuck on formalities we may get a clue on how the court could handle a similar case involving anti-LGBT employment discrimination if and when it presents itself before SCOTUS.

    Also I don't know if its worth noting but Roberts today joined the liberals of the court in both decisions issued (Kagan dissented in one of them ). Could he be getting a bit more liberal ? We ll see..

  • 9. 1grod  |  February 25, 2015 at 11:09 am

    brandall – Probate Judges got it Wrong says the Reply Brief submitted February 23 to the AL Supreme Court. Reason: Ignorance of the Law. It asserts that it's settled law in Alabama and other state that public interest groups [ like themselves] having standing in circumstances where the State is not enforcing its laws, and that courts have often exercised their discretion to waive the need to show personalized injury. Where is the flaw in their logic?

  • 10. RnL2008  |  February 25, 2015 at 11:10 am

    I totally agree with ya and it's both ridiculous and pathetic that these anti-gay folks who think these sort of BLATANT Discriminatory tactics will go unnoticed NOT only by us, but the courts as well!!

  • 11. DeadHead  |  February 25, 2015 at 11:20 am

    I think the anti-gay folks are hoping that by the time these new anti-gay laws make it to SCOTUS (and at least one or more of them will be challenged there) the court will then be stacked with more far right judges. If they can win the presidency in 2016 and keep the Senate we may wind up losing that newer battle.

    We can't let that happen folks!

  • 12. RnL2008  |  February 25, 2015 at 11:45 am

    Sorry folks to be off-topic, but this case was argued today in front of SCOTUS:

    Lamba Legal feels it could have ramifications for our community!!!

  • 13. RnL2008  |  February 25, 2015 at 11:46 am

    I posted the link just a minute ago before seeing your comment!!!

  • 14. RnL2008  |  February 25, 2015 at 11:47 am

    They can hope and wish on a falling star, but I DON'T think they will have much luck there……however that is JMPO:-)

  • 15. hopalongcassidy  |  February 25, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    Here's more insane shit:

  • 16. JayJonson  |  February 25, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    Yes. This is the key takeaway:

    "Our brief aims to discourage the Court from going too far when reversing the Court of Appeals in this case. We all need a sensible interpretation of Title VII’s plain language, including the ban on sex discrimination that provides very significant protection to LGBT workers when properly applied. What we do not need is a disruption of the balance struck by the lower courts that allows employers to refuse religious accommodations that would harm others. In the end, this case illustrates the same distinction we emphasize nationwide in our work against overly broad religious exemptions—the distinction between reasonable accommodations that allow religious minorities to participate in public life with minimal burden on anyone else and religious claims used to justify refusals to serve, employ or rent housing to LGBT people and others deemed religiously unworthy in defiance of laws requiring an end to such harmful discrimination."

  • 17. JayJonson  |  February 25, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    The largest tribal organization in Alaska now permits same-sex marriages.

  • 18. RnL2008  |  February 25, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    It's certainly another eye opener in my opinion, but then, we knew these sorts of broad bills were going to go along with what came out of the Hobby Lobby ruling……at least I think that's what I meant!

  • 19. RnL2008  |  February 25, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    Do those crazies understand that the Declaration of Independence is NOT binding on law and that it is AGAINST the Constitution to set a religion for a state? Here's an article that might help explain to these idiots:
    One of the many attacks on our country from the Religious Right is the claim that our country is a Christian Nation…not just that the majority of people are Christians, but that the country itself was founded by Christians, for Christians. However, a little research into American history will show that this statement is a lie. Those people who spread this lie are known as Christian Revisionists.

  • 20. wes228  |  February 25, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    Congress has, via the Indian Civil Rights Act, applied the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses against the Indian tribes ("No Indian tribe in exercising powers of self-government shall…deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of its laws or deprive any person of liberty or property without due process of law").

    Therefore, any Indian tribe under the jurisdiction of the 4th, 7th, 9th, or 10th Circuits would have their ban on same-sex couples from marrying struck down as well.

  • 21. davepCA  |  February 25, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    Meanwhile, still waiting for news from Nebraska……..

  • 22. Zack12  |  February 25, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    This law is just begging to be struck down by the courts.

  • 23. Zack12  |  February 25, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    Indiana is also getting in on the bigotry fun…

  • 24. DeadHead  |  February 25, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    That is too far over the edge. I betcha we see the far right wingNUTS fuel this type of action in some other states as well.

    "He said the resolution was pushed by a small group within the committee that is bent on creating division among its about 70 members."

  • 25. Eric  |  February 25, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    No, they don't get it. They don't understand that the Declaration of Independence was written a decade before the Constitution was ratified. It's only purpose was as a goodbye letter to a monarch claiming divine right to rule.

    Nor, do they own up and accept that by claiming that this country was founded on Christian values, Christian values would have to include slavery, segregation, the subjugation of women, Native American genocide, etc.

  • 26. Eric  |  February 25, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    LGBT are not engaging in sexual activity in the workplace. It's perfectly legal to fire employees that do. The exemptions sought are to fire LGBT for their identity or perceived identity, no activity needed, just gossip.

    The anti-gay have yet to explain exactly what "sin" gay Shakers engage in when they marry. Shakers believe in celibacy even in marriage.

  • 27. RnL2008  |  February 25, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    I do agree with ya…….the reason our founding father's DIDN'T give this Country a National Religion is because that was one of the reasons they left England…….and which religion would these idiots make as the State religion? Baptist? Evangelistic Fundamentalist? And they should know that SCOTUS would shoot this down in a heart beat!!!

  • 28. RnL2008  |  February 25, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    Why these idiots make these legislation is truly beyond my comprehension……all they have to do is read the ruling from the Hobby Lobby case to know that SCOTUS is NOT going to allow these bills to remain intact……..and the other issue is that these bills DON'T really describe "One's Deeply Held Religious Beliefs"……can one have DEEPLY HELD RELIGIOUS beliefs ONLY towards Gays and Lesbians? Or must they have these beliefs TOWARDS other's as well…….this is why when these cases reach SCOTUS, they will fall in my opinion!!!

  • 29. RnL2008  |  February 25, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    Another State making it difficult for Towns and Cities to pass Anti-Discrimination policies:

  • 30. Rick55845  |  February 25, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    Indian Tribes are self-governing entities. To what extent are they subject to Federal courts? Wouldn't their own laws have to be challenged by someone under the Indian tribe's judicial system?

    I really don't know much about the Indian tribes, but I'd love to know more.

  • 31. DACiowan  |  February 25, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    I don't think it's quite this simple, as the Navajo Nation is within the 9th and 10th Circuits but still has its ban on force.

  • 32. wes228  |  February 25, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    It looks like the Supreme Court has ruled that there really isn't anything anyone can do about violations of the Indian Civil Rights Act. :-(

  • 33. montezuma58  |  February 25, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    Idaho has been a source of a special kind of stupid of late. Apparently some of their legislators are graduates of the Todd Akins School of Female Human Physiology. I wonder if this guy believes if someone can get pregnant via sucking dick.

  • 34. bythesea66  |  February 25, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    There are still extant Shakers? I read an article about the last two still alive in the eighties and they were Senior citizens back then. Did they manage some recruitment somehow?

  • 35. Eric  |  February 25, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    That's the beauty of the Protestants, there is no apostolic succession. One can revive or make up a new denomination at will.

  • 36. DrBriCA  |  February 25, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    Yeah, he's going slower than expected, even with the rest of the reply briefs due this past Monday. By now, most rulings could just read "See these 60 rulings," with a special "plus my own from 2005."

  • 37. Elihu_Bystander  |  February 25, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    They make that blanket statement in their reply brief. However they have no credible citations to support that statement.

    Read the King & Ragland answer and brief. It addresses that statement in great detail.

    Of interest the Martin attorney's answer and brief is 90% cut & paste plagiarism of the King & Ragland response. I have often wondered, what are the ethics of borrowing other attorneys' intellectual property?

  • 38. A_Jayne  |  February 25, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    Could the fly in their ointment be that a federal court has struck down the AL law and amendment, and although that decision/order has been appealed, it was not stayed. Therefore, at this time, no valid AL law currently exists re: marriage that "the State is not enforcing"?

  • 39. VIRick  |  February 25, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    "Now, I look prescient."

    Brandall, you are ALWAYS prescient! Precious, too, but for the moment, we'll just stick with prescient.

  • 40. VIRick  |  February 25, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    "…. no valid AL law currently exists re: marriage that "the State is not enforcing"?"


    They're defending the indefensible, plus have no standing to be doing so. I have no idea why the Alabama Supreme Court is even entertaining their idiocy.

  • 41. A_Jayne  |  February 25, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    At this point, and probably for all of them, it's pure politics – playing to those they hope will vote for them next time they are up for election…

  • 42. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  February 25, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    Get a room already! :)

  • 43. VIRick  |  February 25, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    Do I detect a mild twinge of jealous competition in that coyly cute admonition??!

    So, just for the record, Ryan, you too are an extremely precious commodity, one that needs lots of attention and plenty of TLC.

    OK, so we have a room. Now what?? Instructions, please! LOL

  • 44. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  February 25, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    Are there no dudes down there for you, Mr. Virgin Islands? You sound like me when I haven't gotten any in a while, you horndog. 😛

  • 45. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  February 25, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    You always know how to put a smile on my face with your responses Rick!

    I'd give instructions, but I'd only be repeating from your own book.

  • 46. Ryan K (a.k.a. KELL)  |  February 25, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    It's the Virgin Islands! How can that be…

  • 47. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  February 25, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    It's the Virgin Islands, not the Celibate Islands. You'd think an island of hot, unused men would get Rick somewhere 😛

  • 48. VIRick  |  February 25, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    Am I allowed to plead the 5th Amendment? LOL

  • 49. VIRick  |  February 25, 2015 at 9:58 pm

    I'm elated to learn that we're so amenable (Oh wait! I already knew that, didn't I??).

    But now, I wrote the instructional book, too???

    Let's see: Insert tab A into slot B, then shake. No, wait! I'm looking at the paint-mixing manual. I'm still confused.

  • 50. Rick55845  |  February 26, 2015 at 5:28 am

    Does anyone have any thoughts on whether these new State laws that forbid governments below the State level (e.g., municipalities, counties) from enacting non-discrimination ordinances are likely to pass constitutional muster?

    We know they are targeted specifically against us, but they are all broadly worded in a seeming attempt to avoid the fate of Colorado Amendment 2 that was struck down by SCOTUS in Romer v Evans. SCOTUS said Amendment 2 failed the rational basis test. Will these new laws fail too, or will they satisfy a rational basis test?

    My concern is that since they don't obviously or directly target the LGBT community by forbidding only LGBT non-discrimination ordinances, they might be considered to satisfy a rational basis test.

  • 51. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  March 1, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    Nope, since I'm not an agent of the government. 😛
    I can compel you to speech all I'd like, hehe.

  • 52. VIRick  |  March 1, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    Since you're not an agent of the government, I think you and I need to meet up somewhere and get a few things str8 between us!

  • 53. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  March 1, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    Meet somewhere and place a few straight people between us? Sounds good. Lol!

  • 54. VIRick  |  March 1, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    Hmmm, that would be a novelty. I don't think I've ever done that before. Still, I wonder how many gay guys would suddenly volunteer to be str8, just for the fun of it?

  • 55. Wolf of Raging Fires  |  March 1, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    Well, in all seriousness, if I ever visit the Not-So-Virgin Islands one day, I'll gladly look you up and maybe we can get together for some drinks at the beach. We can see if we can get my pasty Scotch-Irish fiance (husband by that time) to tan for once! Hahaha

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