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ACLU, GLAD join Michigan marriage equality case

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

Last week, two new sets of lawyers joined the challenge to Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban. DeBoer v. Snyder was filed by a same-sex couple seeking adoption rights, and the case was later expanded to take on both the state’s anti-gay adoption law and its same-sex marriage ban.

Lawyers for the ACLU and Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) are now joining the plaintiffs’ legal team. Vickie Henry of GLAD filed a notice of appearance, along with Joshua Block and Leslie Cooper of the ACLU.

The news came shortly after it was announced that the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) is joining the Tenth Circuit appeal in the challenge to Utah’s same-sex marriage ban.

The DeBoer trial will take place on February 25, and will be split into two parts, the first part addressing the constitutionality of Michigan’s adoption and same-sex marriage bans, and the second part will address the questions over the level of judicial scrutiny that should be applied to classifications based on sexual orientation, if the court thinks it’s necessary to resolve that issue after conducting the first part of the trial.

Thanks to Kathleen Perrin for this filing

For more information on DeBoer v. Snyder from The Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse, click here.

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  • 1. Matt227  |  January 22, 2014 at 8:24 am

    The ACLU was always with it, but GLAD is new.

  • 2. Chuck from PA  |  January 22, 2014 at 8:25 am

    It's about time that some heavy hitters joined April and Jayne's legal team. This has been one of the cases that might have huge impact, and the underfunded legal team has been going it alone for far too long. Let's all get behind them. They need us all at their backs.

  • 3. Seth From Maryland  |  January 22, 2014 at 8:32 am

    true , that underfunded legal team has done a pretty damn good job , lots of respect to them

  • 4. Chuck from PA  |  January 22, 2014 at 9:15 am

    I agree completely. But always thought this was an ideal case for the big guns to join.

  • 5. Seth From Maryland  |  January 22, 2014 at 9:43 am

    i agree

  • 6. Art Leonard  |  January 22, 2014 at 8:31 am

    Perhaps the 9th Circuit's very persuasive heightened scrutiny decision yesterday in Smithkline Beecham v. Abbott Labs will be persuasive to the judge on the level of judicial review issue.

  • 7. Scottie Thomaston  |  January 22, 2014 at 8:47 am

    I hope so. I wondered why they granted the motion to split the trial in two parts. I'm not sure why the court wouldn't want to hear the heightened scrutiny testimony at the same time.

  • 8. D.Henderson-Rinehart  |  January 22, 2014 at 8:57 am

    The California, Utah, Oklahoma, and Ohio cases were all decided on rational basis, though some or all of them also contained discussion on heightened scrutiny. It would be great if we could establish in the Sixth Circuit that classifications on sexual orientation are subject to some form of heightened scrutiny, but the court might not even need to reach that issue if it finds the law can't even stand up to rational review.

  • 9. Bruno71  |  January 22, 2014 at 9:00 am

    It reminds me of the recent New Mexico case, which was split into parts dealing with the existing laws and the constitutionality of a marriage ban, in 2 consecutive hours. The 2nd hour on the constitutionality was mostly involved with the scrutiny questions.

  • 10. grod  |  January 22, 2014 at 9:19 am

    State's Answering Brief:
    While plaintiff in the Nevada's Sevcik vs Sandoval case filed an opening brief in October , the defendant answering brief has been twice extended to Janaury17 by concurrence, provided that the defendant not ask for additional briefs

  • 11. Ali in Maryland  |  January 22, 2014 at 11:32 am

    In the brief, as expected, they claim that sexual orientation doesn't deserve heightened scrutiny. The timing is embarrassing for them because 9th Circuit just said sexual orientation gets heightened scrutiny. We can be assured that the plaintiffs will hit them on the head with it in their reply brief.

  • 12. sfbob  |  January 22, 2014 at 11:53 am

    The state also continues to rely on Baker vs Nelson. They really need to give up on that one. Since the federal government grants legally married gay and lesbian couples equal rights and benefits, but recognizes civil unions and domestic partnerships only for very few and specific purposes, the "want of a substantial federal question" justification for dismissing Baker clearly no longer applies. Just in general, Baker has been cited in ways that go far outside of the bounds typically recognized for using a Supreme Court dismissal as precedent.

  • 13. Eric  |  January 22, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    They mention Baker, because that was the excuse the judge used in the district decision.

  • 14. sfbob  |  January 22, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Well here's the problem. The initial ruling came about prior to Windsor, at a time when no federal rights were implicated in the granting of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Windsor sank New Jersey's civil union law and it'll sink all the others too. AND it will sink Baker for the simple reason that, post-Windsor, all laws and judicial rulings on same-sex marriage present a substantial federal question. All of them. Without exception.

  • 15. Zack12  |  January 22, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Plus,with the Windsor ruling,Nevada can't claim domestic partnerships provide all the rights of marriage anymore.
    They don't for federal purposes and they never will.

  • 16. sfbob  |  January 22, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    Yes, that's precisely my point. The end of DOMA creates federal-level marriage rights which any lesser form or recognition prevents couples from accessing. Once the state consents to grant couples some rights, what legitimate justification is there for the state to prevent those couples from accessing ALL of the rights of marriage?

  • 17. Zack12  |  January 22, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    There isn't any,and I suspect both Christie in NJ and Sandoval in Nevada knows it.
    I'll say this about Sandoval,he won't be attenting a pride parade any time soon but I think when push comes to shove,he won't have a meltdown like so many of the other bigots will.

  • 18. mtnbill  |  January 22, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    John Ralston, a NV political columnist, has a brief discussion of the issue. Sandoval stated that personally he thought marriage was between a man and woman, but that the court case should proceed and he would abide by the decision. Needless to say Sandoval is a Roman Catholic. There was some discussion as to wether the AG informed the Gov that he did not have to file the law suit appeal. Sandoval also stated that he thought the voters should have a say at the issue. The repeal of the amendment may happen in 2016 election (it takes two legislative sessions to approve a constitutional amendment, and repeal needs to be approved in the next session of the 2015 legislature to be on the ballot)

    The issue is somewhat of a hot potato. However, Sandoval is the odds on favorite to be re-elected governor this fall. The Democrats don't really have a candidate at the moment. From Sandoval's position, he is in a non-loose position.

    The AG stated that under Nevada statutes the amendment had to be defended–as to how far up the appeal process it is not clear. The AG is a Democrat, and is termed out.

  • 19. Zack12  |  January 22, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    Sandoval is going to get reelected regardless and while I don't think he will be marching in a pride parade,he's no fool either.
    The ban doesn't have a leg to stand on and he knows it with his legal experience but like Christie in NJ,has to fight it to the end.

  • 20. Zack12  |  January 22, 2014 at 11:57 am

    More of the same old same old,it's all they have at this point.

  • 21. Zack12  |  January 22, 2014 at 9:19 am

    I would say this,as he was one of the creators of this bill,Dave Agema opening his bigoted mouth again and again can only help to show the animus behind creating this bill.
    More to the point,as far as bans go,Michigian's is among the worst in that it bars public businesses from being able to offer benefits for same sex couples.
    Them coming on will only help a legal team that should have gotten more a long time ago.

  • 22. Seth From Maryland  |  January 22, 2014 at 10:05 am

    YAY!!!!!!!!!!!Congrats Scotland:UK, Scotland: Marriage Equality Bill top Get Final Vote On February 4th
    Written by scott on January 22nd, 2014
    Scotland Parliament – Google Maps
    from Google Maps
    It looks like we’re this close to getting marriage equality for Scotland.
    Pink News reports:

    The date of the final vote on Scotland’s equal marriage bill has been announced.
    A stage 3 debate and vote will take place on 4 Feb. Tom French, policy coordinator for the Equality Network said to “After six years of campaigning for equal marriage there is now less than a fortnight to go until the final vote. Scotland can be proud that we have produced one of the most progressive equal marriage bills in the world, and it vital that everyone who supports LGBT equality now contacts our MSPs to protect against any negative amendments being made and to make sure this bill passes into law with the strong majority it deserves.&rdquo ;

  • 23. Seth From Maryland  |  January 22, 2014 at 10:14 am

    really good international news at least: Chile: Senate Advances Transgender Rights Bill
    Written by scott on January 22nd, 2014
    Chile FlagA bill to add rights for Chile’s transgender citizens passed through the Senate on a 29-0 vote.

    The Washington Blade reports:

    A bill that would allow transgender Chileans to legally change their name and sex without sex reassignment surgery advanced in the country’s Senate on Tuesday. Lawmakers in the South American nation by a 29-0 vote margin approved the measure that would also allow trans Chileans to legally change their name and sex without hormonal treatments and psychiatric or psychological evaluations. Three lawmakers abstained. “Our lawmakers have recognized our dignity,” Andres Ignacio Duarte Rivera, founder of the Organization of Transsexuals for the Dignity of Diversity, a Chilean trans advocacy group, told the Washington Blade after the vote.

  • 24. Michelle Evans  |  January 22, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Great news for our trans cousins in the Southern Hemisphere. Thanks for sharing the good news.

  • 25. Gregory in SLC  |  January 22, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    :D! very good news! My spouse is from Chile. Hope you and Cherie are doing wonderfully. xo

  • 26. Michelle Evans  |  January 22, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    We're doing great Gregory. Thank you. My book is doing exceptionally well, so it has been an exciting time.

  • 27. Gregory in SLC  |  January 22, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    Love to hear more about your book!

    [email protected]

  • 28. Michelle Evans  |  January 22, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    Thanks Gregory. It's sort of off topic here, but it is an aerospace history book that actually does have a direct connection to Prop 8, as bizarre as that sounds. It's called "The X-15 Rocket Plane" and I'll send you a PM with some more info.

  • 29. Gregory in SLC  |  January 23, 2014 at 4:33 am


  • 30. Zack12  |  January 22, 2014 at 11:59 am

    I think it took so long to get help because everyone was focus on VA and that case.

  • 31. Marriage Equality Round-U&hellip  |  January 23, 2014 at 7:25 am

    […] USA, Michigan: GLAD and the ACLU are joining a marriage equal;ity lawsuit in the state. full story […]

  • 32. Policy and Legal Update &&hellip  |  January 27, 2014 at 7:01 am

    […] MICHIGAN  •  On 3 January 2014, in April DeBoer & Jayne Rowse v. MI Governor Rick Snyder, et al., a federal case challenging the constitutionality of the MI’s 2004 ban on same-gender marriage, civil union, domestic partnership, and joint adoption, lawyers from ACLU and G&LA&D joined the plaintiff legal team.  •  MEUSA Summary  •  News Source […]

  • 33. Equality On TrialEquality&hellip  |  January 28, 2014 at 8:07 am

    […] – Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders’ (GLAD) Mary Bonauto is joining the legal team fighting Michigan’s same-sex marriage and adoption bans in DeBoer v. Snyder. (EqualityOnTrial has previously reported on new counsel in the DeBoer case here. […]

  • 34. CValner  |  February 16, 2014 at 6:37 am

    In anticipation of the upcoming Feb. 25, 2014 Michigan same-sex marriage and joint adoption trial, a slideshow set to music of the 10-16-2013 Michigan Marriage Challenge Rally outside Detroit Federal Courthouse prior to DeBoer vs Snyder motion hearing on Michigan same-sex marriage equality and joint same-sex adoption.

  • 35. CValner  |  February 16, 2014 at 6:51 am

    [youtube ibChoON5_o4& youtube]

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