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Federal lawsuit against all gay people dismissed

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

Nebraska state sealYesterday, we noted that a Nebraska woman filed a lawsuit in federal district court against all gay people. The complaint listed some quotes from the Bible, and appeared to discuss the woman’s own personal views on homosexuality and gay people.

One odd facet of the complaint (and there were quite a few oddities) was that there was no request for relief of any sort from the court. Typically, when you sue, you’re asking for something: either you’re seeking money damages, or asking the court to strike down a law, or issue an injunction or temporary restraining order. The complaint didn’t ask the court to do anything or grant the woman any kind of relief against all gay people.

The complaint also lacked a statement about the court’s jurisdiction. A statute allows for lawsuits “arising under” the Constitution, and another allows for lawsuits against someone in another state if the amount of money involved exceeds a certain amount. But the complaint didn’t allege that the lawsuit falls into either category.

The court has dismissed the case, pointing out those flaws.

Also, in the dismissal order, the judge noted that federal courts aren’t venues for debating theology: “Under Art. III, §2 of the United States Constitution, the United States Federal Courts were created to resolve actual cases and controversies arising under the Constitution and the laws of the United States. A federal court is not a forum for debate or discourse on theological matters. Other forums, freely accessible to citizens of the United States, exist for the purpose of addressing questions of religious doctrine. This is a court of law, and “‘[t]he law knows no heresy, and is committed to the support of no dogma, the establishment of no sect.'” United States v. Ballard, 322 U.S. 78, 86 (1944) (quoting Watson v. Jones, 80 U.S. 679, 728 (1871)).”

The judge pointed out that to the extent the complaint could be construed to ask for any type of relief, it asked for “a declaration that homosexuality is sinful—a question that the Court cannot answer.”

The woman won’t be allowed to amend her complaint, since that would be “futile.”

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings

41 Comments

  • 1. robbyinflorida  |  May 7, 2015 at 9:09 am

    Mat Staver, Tony Perkins, Brian Brown READ THIS. “‘[t]he law knows no heresy, and is committed to the support of no dogma, the establishment of no sect.'”

  • 2. Raga  |  May 7, 2015 at 10:12 am

    The Arkansas Supreme Court has issued a ruling (unanimous in judgment, with a concurring opinion) today.

    Majority Opinion: https://contexte.aoc.arkansas.gov/imaging/IMAGES/

    Concurrence: https://contexte.aoc.arkansas.gov/imaging/IMAGES/

    The Court held that newly elected Justice Wood, and not Special Justice McCorkindale should participate in the marriage case Smith v. Wright. I expect the Court to schedule a date for fresh oral argument.

  • 3. Roulette00  |  May 7, 2015 at 10:42 am

    I've lost track of what's going on with that hot mess. It's clear that one side thought it had an advantage by keeping the previous special prosecutor, and the other side preferred to have the new one; thus the delay. What the heck is going on there?

  • 4. mu2  |  May 7, 2015 at 10:46 am

    It's like the last 2 guys in a hand of poker both raising on busted flushes.

  • 5. RnL2008  |  May 7, 2015 at 10:55 am

    I'm with you……total confusion with states like Arkansas and Alabama……..time is tick down on these states to get their act together before SCOTUS rules in June!

  • 6. bythesea66  |  May 7, 2015 at 11:08 am

    I'd guess nothing will really be resolved in either until SCOTUS rules.

  • 7. RnL2008  |  May 7, 2015 at 11:13 am

    That's my take on this issue….we probably won't hear from the 5th, 8th or the 11th until SCOTUS rules and even then, I still expect states like Texas and the South to dig their heels in for a bit of time, which will help eliminate certain politicians from the Republican candidates running for President.

  • 8. Jaesun100  |  May 7, 2015 at 11:19 am

    Looks like Scottie and EOT team got a shoutout from the Advocate :)
    http://www.advocate.com/politics/marriage-equalit

  • 9. Raga  |  May 7, 2015 at 11:21 am

    The Special Justice was perceived to be more liberal than the newly elected Justice Wood, so this could be seen as a blow to our side, but it doesn't matter unless SCOTUS upholds the marriage bans. (Because then, the Arkansas Supreme Court will still have to decide whether the Arkansas ban violates the Arkansas Constitution.)

    Now that the issue of who will decide the case is settled, the case can be reheard – oral arguments could be scheduled soon, or the Court can decide to wait for SCOTUS to rule first.

  • 10. guitaristbl  |  May 7, 2015 at 11:43 am

    Quite bad news for us then…Hopefully it won't matter in the long term.

  • 11. scream4ever  |  May 7, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    We definitely won't hear from the 8th nor the 11th since they explicitly announced they have put their cases on hold pending resolution from the Supreme Court. I expect Arkansas will follow suit instead of scheduling oral arguments. I'm still holding out hope that we'll get rulings from the 5th Circuit since they have not announced putting the proceedings on hold (and were asked not to by both the plaintiffs and the defendants). I also expect the class action lawsuit out of Alabama to be ruled on and Guam to receive summary judgment since it's within the 9th Circuit and their ruling is unstayed and binding throughout.

  • 12. guitaristbl  |  May 7, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    I do wonder why people are still expecting a ruling out of the 5th at this point.
    There is virtually no chance they will rule before SCOTUS now.
    They do not need to say that they stay proceedings, they can sit on the opinion as long as they like plus in the 8th both parties wanted the cases to proceed but the 8th sua sponte put the cases on hold till SCOTUS decides, so I don't think it matters that both sides of the lawsuits in the 5th want the court to issue an opinion.

  • 13. flyerguy77  |  May 7, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    I believe we could hear from 5th at anytime now.. After listening the oral arguments I have a sense they will be reversing 6th CA, BY 5 -4 or 6-3 votes and for Q2 7-2 or 6-3

  • 14. RnL2008  |  May 7, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    I wish I had your optimism on anything coming from the 5th…….I just don't see it happening before June….and if it does and it's in our favor, I would probably drop on the floor out of shock…….lol!

  • 15. TomPHL  |  May 7, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    I'm disappointed because if the decision had gone the other way we might have gotten a ruling based on the Arkansas constitution before the end of June. Although I suspect that this whole stupid charade has come about more to avoid making a ruling than to stop marriage equality, which all parties suspect is inevitable. The question of whether the constitutional amendment mandating opposite sex marriage was precluded by the declaration of rights in the Arkansas constitution fascinates me and now we probably won't get a ruling.

  • 16. scream4ever  |  May 7, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    Why? Oral arguments heavily indicated it will be a 2-1 ruling in our favor.

  • 17. RnL2008  |  May 7, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    We all know that just because oral arguments appear in our favor, it DOESN'T necessarily translate to a win for us…….like I said, I'd be shocked just because I know what Texas has been trying to do regarding the outcome from rulings like the 5th and SCOTUS.

  • 18. davepCA  |  May 7, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    It won't.

  • 19. 1grod  |  May 7, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    bl – Alabama (Strawser v Strange) and Kansas (Marie v Mosier) have reminded the legal community and those interested in marriage equality about dealing with resistance/reluctance. It is anticipate similar resistance/reluctance would be expressed in Texas. With less than 60 days before the Supreme Court rulings in Obergefell v Hodges, I agree with you that the 5th would be wise not rule. Let the Supremes' decision guide all the reluctant 13 states. Can not the Appeals' panel choose the timing?

  • 20. Dr. Z  |  May 7, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    Just heard that the Oregon Senate passed the ban on "reparative therapy" torture for minors – next stop is our LGBT Governor Brown, then Oregon will become the next state to have banned the practice along with NJ, CA and DC. The vote was 21-8. (It passed the House last month by a large margin.)

  • 21. RnL2008  |  May 7, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    Good, reparative therapy is wrong and NOT proven to work and the stories I've read about the harm is just wrong on so many levels!!!

  • 22. flyerguy77  |  May 7, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    Why is everybody throwing the 5th CA under the bus prior their decision? That's very unfair to judge the decision prior it being released. If they are taking longer than expected so what!! there is no time limit in federal appeals. Relax..

  • 23. RnL2008  |  May 7, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    Longer than expected? My guess is the 5th probably won't rule until after SCOTUS does….but hey ANYTHING is possible.

  • 24. flyerguy77  |  May 7, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    ** If they heard a case and writing an opinion/ decision they must release a decision.

  • 25. flyerguy77  |  May 7, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    They are taking longer than other appeal courts……….. So what….

  • 26. Dr. Z  |  May 7, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    This was personally significant to us. My husband was subjected to this the first time he tried to come out, just after he turned 16 in 1986. His "therapy" was provided by a psychologist who normally worked with prison sex offenders, and it was entirely secular – he and his parents are Jewish atheists. Later, his parents became very active in PFLAG and his mother was President of the Oregon PFLAG chapter. Jason and his father both testified before the House and Senate subcommittees hearing the bill. I'm so proud of them both, it was brave (and necessary) for them to do this. It ended up being a very healing thing for our family.

  • 27. 1grod  |  May 7, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    Guy: Good observation. Could courts like the 5th's Appeals panel not choose the timing however? G

  • 28. Eric  |  May 7, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    I think it is because people don't like government employees to dawdle when it comes to recognizing fundamental rights.

  • 29. RnL2008  |  May 7, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    I'm glad it worked out for your husband and your family……some unfortunately are not so lucky.

    If you've never seen the movie Prayers for Bobby, I recommend taking a look at it……it's about a woman's struggle with her faith and her son Bobby……makes ya real emotional.

  • 30. RnL2008  |  May 7, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    So NOTHING……the fact that they have waited this long, in my opinion indicates that they may wait until after SCOTUS rules, if they rule at all.

  • 31. flyerguy77  |  May 7, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    Are you an attorney, a judge? a law clerk? Relax. timing with non decision means nothing. It seems like some of you think they must release their decision right away Reality Check they have other cases to handle too, and writing, sitting on other cases, research the case laws and etc. They can release their decision when they are finish with it. There are no time lines in Federal courts..

  • 32. SoCal_Dave  |  May 7, 2015 at 6:54 pm

    Damn. I guess this means my lawsuit against all straight people is doomed.

  • 33. FredDorner  |  May 7, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    Z, kudos to your husband and his dad.. They did a very good thing.

  • 34. davepCA  |  May 7, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    I say go for it. You have a better chance of proving harm than that crazy lady did.

  • 35. Dr. Z  |  May 7, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    Bobby was a local kid. Every time I pass that bridge I can't help but think about him.

    Prayers for Bobby was turned into a work for men's chorus by the Portland Gay Men's Chorus. Both of us sang with them for years.

  • 36. RnL2008  |  May 7, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    My wife is from Oregon and she knows the area as well…….it's great that you sing and are/were part of a Chorus.

  • 37. Dashville  |  May 7, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    LOL what's funny about this is the idiotic religious woman tried to file this forma pauperis, so she won't have to pay the $400 filing fee to file a civil case in a US District Court. I

  • 38. VIRick  |  May 7, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    Dave, since her ridiculous case, "Driskell v. Homosexuals," was summarily dismissed for lack of a legal complaint, you won't even be able to cite it as precedent. And just when we were starting to have fun with it, complete with an EoT summary quotation of the case (or rather, of its oddities and peculiarities) in Advocate.com.

  • 39. VIRick  |  May 7, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    Perhaps, next time she should launch a GoFundMe thingie in advance so she has the fiing fee in hand. Still, as the self-designated ambassador of "God and his son, jesus christ," you would have thought that those two would have been kind enough to have bestowed some manna from heaven to help her out.

    Plus, I just realized that although the Judge did not specifically cite "Baker v. Nelson," he did dismiss the case for, among other reasons, "a lack of a federal question."

  • 40. Dashville  |  May 7, 2015 at 10:12 pm

    I know it takes a lot of time for the Court to do research and cite the relevant case laws and stuff when dismissing the case. If she had use her time to find a job, instead using her time to write the (flawed) lawsuit and going to a US courthouse to file it, then she wouldn't have to file it as a pauper. The Court should have dismissed the case AND issue an Order to Show Cause why she shouldn't be held in contempt for filing a frivolous lawsuit and assess a civil penalty on her. People nowadays lol

  • 41. 1grod  |  May 8, 2015 at 6:37 am

    Resistance: Texas Bill 4105 which prevents clerks and others from issuing licenses to same gender couples and from recognizing same gender marriages has moved out of committee and is to be calendared for consideration by the House. Yesterday Equality Texas calls for action: http://www.equalitytexas.org/action-alert-immedia… If the appeal's court were to favourably rule, who would issue licenses? Looks like Texas is envious of Alabama's ability to stop ssm cold! [for now]. This is one of twenty bills focused on LGBT under consideration by the house.

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