Sign Up to Receive Email Action Alerts From Issa Exposed

Indiana, Florida, and Arizona see new challenges to their same-sex marriage bans, plus updates from Alabama

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

Over the past couple of weeks, five lawsuits have been filed in federal court challenging Indiana’s statutory ban on same-sex marriage. EqualityOnTrial reported on two of the lawsuits previously: one was filed by an out-of-state law firm, and the other by Lambda Legal. A third was filed by the ACLU:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana plans today to take the challenge one step further. The group said it expects to file a third lawsuit in federal court on behalf of 15 plaintiffs, including two children of same-sex couples, challenging the same-sex marriage ban and the state’s refusal to recognize gay unions legally performed in other states.

“The government is a powerful teacher of discrimination,” said Sean Lemieux, an attorney working on the ACLU case. “There is no justification for Indiana to treat these families as second-class citizens. The families in this case want the responsibility, security and dignity that only marriage provides, and their children deserve the same protections that other Indiana families enjoy.”

Both lawsuits follow a similar legal challenge filed in the same U.S. District Court last Friday by four other Indiana same-sex couples.

The Indiana legal challenges are part of a national wave of lawsuits targeting state bans on same-sex marriages. This week, similar challenges were filed in Florida and Arizona. Unlike Indiana, which bans same-sex marriage by state statute, both of those states have constitutional bans against the practice.

A fourth was filed by Freedom Indiana and Indiana Equality, and the fifth was filed by a law firm based in the state.

Readers can find more information on Love v. Pence, filed by attorneys based in Kentucky, here. Read more about Baskin v. Bogan, Lambda Legal’s case, here. Read more about Fujii v. Indiana Governor, the ACLU’s case, here.Read more about Bowling v. Pence, filed by an Indiana law firm, here. Read more about Lee v. Pence, filed by Freedom Indiana and Indiana Equality, here. (Thanks to the Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse for the links.)

Lambda Legal has also filed a new lawsuit in federal court in Arizona; and the ACLU has filed a new lawsuit in federal court in Florida. Both of those states have already seen their same-sex marriage bans challenged: an Arizona-based law firm has filed a class-action lawsuit challenging that state’s same-sex marriage ban and its refusal to recognize same-sex marriages performed outside the state, while a Florida-based law firm has filed a federal challenge to that state’s ban. The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) has filed its own case in Florida state court.

The new Arizona case challenges the state’s marriage equality ban and its non-recognition provisions as well. The Florida case, filed by the ACLU, challenges the state’s non-recognition provisions.

Meanwhile, there are updates in two Alabama cases previously covered by EqualityOnTrial. In one case, filed in Alabama state court, a lesbian couple who got married in Iowa filed for divorce in Alabama, a state that doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage or divorce. The divorce is uncontested, but because of Alabama’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, a judge has dismissed the case. A lawyer who represents one of the women has said he’ll take further action, either by filing an appeal or filing a new case in federal court:

ill said he will file a motion asking Judge Hall to reconsider her order. If that is unsuccessful, Hill said he will file an appeal with the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals.

“I anticipate I may have to file lawsuit in U.S. District Court under the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause,” Hill said. “Under most circumstances if there was a problem with what I filed I would have opportunity to correct it. However this ruling is based simply on the gender of these two women.”

Another Alabama case, Hard v. Bentley, filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), has seen a few small developments. One of the defendants, Catherine M. Donald, State Registrar of Vital Statistics, has agreed to abide by the district court’s (eventual) ruling, and if the court holds that same-sex marriages performed outside of Alabama must be recognized, she “will accept application to amend the death certificate of Charles David Fancher,” Paul Hard’s husband, who was killed in a car accident. Since she will comply with the ruling, at least in the absence of a stay of the decision, all parties have agreed to dismiss her as a defendant in the case.

The state defendants, Governor Robert Bentley and Attorney General Luther Strange, filed their answer to the initial complaint in the case. There’s nothing too exceptional about the filing: the state officials are defending the non-recognition provisions, as expected. They “deny that Plaintiff is legally a “widower” under Alabama law,” and that while “state law is subject to the Fourteenth Amendment [to the US Constitution]” they “deny that Alabama’s marriage laws violate the Fourteenth Amendment.” The state officials also deny that the state’s marriage laws “punish” anyone.

Beyond that, the filing suggests the anti-recognition provisions are subject only to rational basis review, and that there are legitimate interests furthered by the laws. And they argue further that the ban is closely tied to compelling government interests, and it’s narrowly-tailored to those interests, which is the framework typically associated with strict scrutiny. The state officials also suggest that the ban can be defended based on Tenth Amendment grounds, and that the question of whether same-sex marriage should be permitted is a “political question” and is outside the realm of judicial review.

Steven Reed, Probate Judge of Montgomery County, also filed his answer to the complaint.

Thanks to Kathleen Perrin and Equality Case Files for many of these filings


  • 1. Rancor  |  March 18, 2014 at 10:44 am

    CDC: 20% of Gay Men Are HIV-Positive, but Nearly Half Don’t Know It.

    Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that 1 in 5 sexually active gay and bisexual men in America are HIV-positive but that 44% of them don’t know it.

    More than 8,000 self-identifying gay and bisexual men (or, as the researchers call them, MSM, for men who have sex with men) were tested by CDC workers in the 21 American cities with the highest infection rates. The gay population in Baltimore had the highest rates of HIV infection, at 38%, while Atlanta scored lowest, at 6%.

    The highest absolute number of infections occurred in white MSM, primarily those between the ages of 30 to 39. However, young black gay and bisexual men (aged 13 to 29) had the highest rates of HIV infection per capita, and young Hispanic MSM also had disproportionately high rates of infection. (More on ‘It Gets Better’: Wisdom From Grown-Up Gays and Lesbians to Bullied Kids)

    There is no denying that the highest infection rates occur in gay and bisexual men. Although they account for 4% of the male population in the United States, their HIV-infection rate is 44 times the rate of heterosexual men. African-American men and men under 30 years old were the two groups least likely to be aware of their status.

    When data on the two groups are broken apart, however, HIV-infection rates in bisexual men are lower than in gay men, according to a study in the American Journal of Public Health.

  • 2. ragefirewolf  |  March 18, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Gay marriage bans raise HIV infection rate

    Marriage equality lowers medical needs rate, increases health

  • 3. Rancor  |  March 18, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Promiscuity among so-called Homosexual "Couples":

    Even in those homosexual relationships in which the partners consider themselves to be in a committed relationship, the meaning of "committed" typically means something RADICALLY DIFFERENT from normal marriage.

    In The Male Couple, authors David P. McWhirter and Andrew M. Mattison reported that in a study of a hundred-fifty-six males in so-called homosexual "relationships" lasting from one to thirty-seven years,

    Only seven "couples" claimed to have a totally exclusive sexual relationship, and these men all have been together for less than five years. Stated another way, all "couples" with a relationship lasting more than five years have incorporated some provision for outside sexual activity in their relationships.

    In Male and Female Homosexuality, M. Saghir and E. Robins found that the average male homosexual live-in relationship lasts between two and three years.

  • 4. ragefirewolf  |  March 18, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Gay promuscuity is a myth

  • 5. Rancor  |  March 18, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Homosexual equality and marriage hurts all segments of society because it is a sham. A lie. A diversion from the truth about homosexuals, their hyper-promiscuity in and out of "relationships" and the homosexual attacks on medical professionals and researchers who have attempted to sound warnings about their toxic, disease spreading behaviours. Researchers in the UK, Sweden, Denmark, France, The Netherlands, USA, Germany and Switzerland have been systematically targeted, harassed and intimidated to undermine, stop and prevent the facts revealed in their research programmes. This research has shown that 1st world Homosexuals are the primary transmission sector of ALL STDS (including HIV, herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia) in developed nations.. Due to the huge overuse of antibiotics by HIV infected homosexuals, new and virulent strains of tuberculosis, pneumonia, measles, CRE's (carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae) to name a few. Heterophobic activists like to use African STD numbers to try divert attention, but this is very easy to disprove and debunk.

  • 6. ragefirewolf  |  March 18, 2014 at 11:01 am

    You don't cite sources at all – forget even doing so semi-properly, use weasel words, and you basically summarize whatever you have already posted. So no, you're dead wrong. Not one heterosexual marriage is the slightest bit affected by the private decisions of others to marry. Even if it was possible to affect your marriage by my getting married, the problem would be your marriage being a weak one, not mine. You're an uneducated troll who believes whatever they read that supports their viewpoint no matter how illegitimate and made up they are. Give it up before you hurt yourself trying to think. You haven't actually caused any harm here, thankfully, because you're essentially powerless here. It is my pleasure to educate you and to do so further if you desire.

  • 7. Twoguysandahome  |  March 18, 2014 at 6:22 pm


    I love my sham…married now for almost four years (together for 10) in a monogomous relationship filled with love and happiness, good paying jobs, lots of friends, wonderful church that loves us, daughter getting ready for college. All that I we are missing is the white picket fence and that is only because we choose not to put one in…we are so deviant; an urge we just couldn't control. Please pray for me as my life is certainly not as shallow and hate filled as yours :>

  • 8. Rancor  |  March 18, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    The British slang for cigarettes is a very accurate and appropriate word describing homosexuals because of their toxic, hyper-promiscuous behaviour.

    The practice of both (smoking and homosexuality) spreads and causes diseases that would otherwise not exist.

    The practice of both (smoking and homosexuality) is endorsed via the half truths, lies and delusions of it's practitioners.

  • 9. Steve  |  March 18, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    Stop feeding the troll

  • 10. Equality On TrialAlabama &hellip  |  March 26, 2014 at 9:36 am

    […] v. Bentley is still in its early stages. Answers to the initial complaint have been filed by Governor Bentley and Attorney General Strange as well as Probate Judge Steven Reed of Montgomery […]

  • 11. jennydesuza  |  May 14, 2014 at 6:35 am

    Commercial Photography
    Online reading is not my thing. But after reading your blog I am really pleased. I don’t know about other blogs but this I will definitely keep coming back to.

  • 12. yahoo  |  July 14, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Thank you a lot for sharing this with all people you actually recognize what you’re speaking approximately!
    Bookmarked. Please additionally consult with my web site =).

    We will have a link alternate contract among us

    Here is my page – yahoo

Having technical problems? Visit our support page to report an issue!