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Federal judge allows anti-LGBT group to intervene in Alabama same-sex marriage case

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

David Fancher and Paul Hard. Attribution: Michael Kukulski
David Fancher and Paul Hard. Attribution: Michael Kukulski
A federal district court judge has granted the motion to intervene filed by an anti-LGBT organization in a challenge to Alabama’s prohibition on recognition of same-sex marriages performed outside the state. The motion had been filed by the group on behalf of Pat Fancher, the mother of a man who was killed in a car accident in 2011, to protect her interest in the proceeds from a wrongful death lawsuit stemming from the accident.

The challenge to the ban was filed by the man’s husband, Paul Hard, who’s seeking to have his marriage recognized by the state so that he’s entitled to the proceeds from that lawsuit. Fancher’s will left everything to Hard, in order to make sure he’s provided for in the event of Fancher’s passing; but under Alabama law, the wrongful death proceeds would go to the next of kin. Alabama doesn’t recognize legal same-sex marriages performed outside of the state, so Hard is not considered a “surviving spouse.” This means that, contrary to Fancher’s wishes, the money would be distributed to others.

As EqualityOnTrial has previously noted, no party to the case opposed the request, and permission to intervene is usually granted if the person has a property or monetary interest in the proceedings.

State officials are defending the ban, but the addition of the Foundation for Moral Law as a party probably means that we’ll see the more familiar anti-LGBT arguments in the briefing.

Hard v. Bentley was filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

Thanks to Kathleen Perrin for these filings


  • 1. Wesley Cole  |  March 31, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    I hope the mother of this gay man rots in hell and lives in hell on earth.

  • 2. Guest  |  March 31, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    She'll be dead for much longer than she'll be alive, so instead, she can experience her hell on earth and swim in her Christian misery before she is robbed of it in death.

  • 3. Laguna Beach Dude  |  March 31, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    she's a typical Christian. We all have to bend over backwards to give Christians a good name when they CONSTANTLY show themselves to be horrific, spiteful, hateful people in LARGE numbers. But let's not ruin Christian Inc. branding and image by exposing them for what MANY of them are.

  • 4. Christian  |  March 31, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Hard to say she's a Christian when Jesus said everyone would see that they (Christians) follow Him by the way they love others in John 13:35 when that's the exact opposite of what she is doing. In fact that goes for the whole of the "Christian" Right.

    Not to mention Matt. 25:31-46 when Jesus gives the warning that many people who did evil but claimed to follow Him will be damned.

  • 5. Steve  |  March 31, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    Since when have Christians ever followed Jesus? Not since about the 4th century.

  • 6. Christian  |  March 31, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    I bet Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. would be interested to be considered a non Christian according to your chronologically based standard!

    And you're making a blanket statement regarding roughly 5 billion people who have ever claimed to Christians historically. Tell me, have you gone back in time and evaluated each individuals life and determined they are unworthy of being considered followers of Jesus?

    I'll grant you, for almost 2 millennia many of the mainstream churches that have claimed to be Christ following have had utterly bigoted chatechisms. Be they against a certain race, or women, or LGBT people. But there are exceptions to everything.

    In the 1700s & 1800s here were churches that rebuked slavery and embraced women's suffrage. And when Eastern Pennsylvania was under control of the Quakers, there was no sodomy law and they sought to accept blacks and native Americans.

    Even In 1601, a Galician priest married two men together in a Christian ceremony.

    There is always light in the darkness, and we ourselves should not succumb to making blanket judgements. Be they against gays, women, Muslims, or even Christians.

  • 7. Steve  |  March 31, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    Typical revisionist history.

    Christianity was the main defense for slavery and the subjugation of women. In the latter case it still often is (something it shares with Islam and orthodox Judaism). While a few Christians were on the right side, they were a minority. Today people like to think that the proponents of slavery and women as chattel were motivated by something else. In the case of slavery there were some other issues like economics and pseudo-science, but when you look at what was said and written then it is clear that a huge reason was Christianity and the supposed natural order that god created.

    And history will repeat itself. In 50 years Christians will also claim that they were always pro-gay. And churches like Southern Baptist Convention will whitewash their history, just as they did when it came to slavery and segregation.

  • 8. Christian  |  March 31, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    Hardly revisionist.

    Many, if not most, abolitionists in the US and UK were Christians. Most notably was William Wilberforce, an Anglican Christian responsible with the abolition of the Slave Trade in the UK. Quakers were also leaders in the early abolition movement.

    And Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony and Abby Kelley were Quakers, the original Liberal Christians. People who have long, yes have long been in the minority of people who call themselves "Christian" and ever at odds with the more Pharisee-like majority.

    And have there been people who have called themselves Christian and learned that they were in error? Yes! And to write these people off as evil despite their reference make one as merciless as the hellfire-and-damnation Religious Right!

    The Christian Church is made up of flawed humans, some struggle with loving others in general. Others have/had prejudices against specific groups. The thing is that Jesus said he didn't come to save the righteous, but to save the sinner.

    There are people who are like Right Rev. William Swing and William Wilberforce who on the right side to beginwith. And there are people like Dr. Jeffery Siker who stopped being anti-gay and repented. And there are people who still use their faith to harm others which it was never meant to do which is why that kind of abuse is not Christian despite what they may say to comfort themselves.

    So don't hammer Christians or try to tie them to the antics and monstrosities of the religious right, we are on your side. We always have been even if it takes some of us time, like the rest of society, to change.

  • 9. Christian  |  March 31, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    *people who have long been in the minority

    I wish there was an 'edit' option for typos…

  • 10. Eric  |  March 31, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    She's a Christian if she calls herself one, such is the nature of superstition.

  • 11. Christian  |  March 31, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    Maybe to you, and I don't blame you for feeling that way, but that's factually not a Biblical litmus test for who is and is not a Christian.

    As for the statement saying "such is the nature of superstition", do you really feel that will win you friends among those who are otherwise your allies as religious liberals? "Superstition" is connoted with ignorance and that's not exactly a compliment. If anything it's insulting quite frankly. It's that line of rhetoric that is divisive, especially in the lgbt civil rights movement.

  • 12. KarlS  |  April 1, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    If the "bible" is a litmus test for anything, it would be for insane, psychotic misanthropic bullshit. People who don't know that have never bothered to read the filthy old collection of porn and obscenity. Bah.

  • 13. Christian  |  April 1, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    You don't sound any more enlightened than the religious right.

  • 14. bayareajohn  |  April 1, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Hate always begets hate.

  • 15. Christian  |  April 1, 2014 at 8:50 pm


  • 16. Eric  |  April 2, 2014 at 7:48 am

    There hasn't been agreement on the biblical litmus test for being a Christian, since long before the First Council of Nicaea. Hence my comment about the nature of superstition. If Christians are offended by that statement, they are welcome to turn the other cheek.

  • 17. Zack12  |  March 31, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    But according to the bigots, if we have things like wills, we don't need marriage because it will cover all of the legal protections of marriage.
    Just another example of how that is a flat out lie.

  • 18. Chris M.  |  March 31, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Can she be deposed to bring out the animus for all to see? Then her participation might actually do us some good.

  • 19. Dr. Z  |  March 31, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    They can hardly avoid doing so.

  • 20. CarrotCakeMan  |  March 31, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    Don't you suppose that is why no one objected? The federal judge in the Utah case cited the hate speech made by Utah state representatives as recorded by television stations. This judge will be able to cite this woman's testimony. She will be cross-examined by plaintiffs' attorneys, and her son's widower will be able to tell them what to ask her about.

  • 21. davep  |  March 31, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    Oh I would LOVE to hear the kind of coaching the lawyers will give her to try to prevent her from showing her true colors on the witness stand, and how she reacts to those efforts…

  • 22. Dr. Z  |  March 31, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    Glad they allowed her to intervene. She will cause their side no end of headaches.

  • 23. Guest  |  March 31, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Agreed, the plaintiffs can use the bigots as a whipping post to aggrandize our justice. It will be a spectacular Christian failure and they deserve it.

  • 24. Christian  |  March 31, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    I wish some of my conservative family and friends could just read some of these comments and be like "Yah good fucking job of 'loving gay people but disapproving of their 'lifestyle', you've really spread the Gospel"

  • 25. KarlS  |  April 1, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    Your 'gospel' is nothing but insane filth. So many 'christians', so few lions…sigh.

  • 26. Background Gal  |  April 2, 2014 at 12:51 am

    If you think you are being treated sharply here, go look at how the slightest pro-gay hint is slammed over at NOM or countless other right-wing sites. This is kid gloves by comparison.

  • 27. Dr. Z  |  March 31, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    Plus which: she sounds like a thoroughly unpleasant, disagreeable, selfish, and demanding old biddy. Just the kind of person to disrupt their side's legal strategy…

  • 28. Zack12  |  March 31, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Even if she isn't homophobic, she's using the ban as a way to get $$$ and other things her son specifically stated in his will that he didn't want her having.
    I had one friend who lost his house and other things when his partner passed. His partner's sister wasn't homophobic, she was just plain greedy and evil.

  • 29. Steve  |  March 31, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    There are gays like that too. There have been cases where one side used an anti-gay law to retain custody of children for example. That's how second-parent adoptions got banned in NC for example. Before the state supreme court said now, some lower courts granted them.

  • 30. federal laws book  |  July 9, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    States with the highest levels of regulation include New York, Pennsylvania and North Dakota; they require notification, test scores or professional
    evaluation, and other requirements such as curriculum approval,
    complex paperwork, or home visits. A study in California in 2002 concluded
    that marijuana could be beneficial in the treatment of
    250 conditions, including as an antiemetic for the treatment of nausea
    and anorexia associated with treatments for cancer, AIDS, and hepatitis.
    1962) (under California unfair competition and trademark
    law, “it is enough that an appreciable number of purchasers are likely to be.

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