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READ IT HERE: Opening brief in appeal of Paul Hard’s marriage case in Eleventh Circuit

LGBT Legal Cases Marriage equality Marriage Equality Trials

David Fancher and Paul Hard. Attribution: Michael Kukulski
David Fancher and Paul Hard. Attribution: Michael Kukulski
The opening brief in the appeal of Paul Hard’s Alabama marriage case has been filed. His mother in law, Pat Fancher, is appealing the money that Hard got as part of a wrongful death lawsuit involving an accident in which his husband was killed.

You can read it here thanks to Equality Case Files. (The embed code doesn’t work properly.


  • 1. scream4ever  |  October 7, 2015 at 8:41 am

    I expect this to be quickly dealt with.

  • 2. Montezuma58_1  |  October 7, 2015 at 8:53 am

    More shenanigans from an AL probate judge. This one is claiming the Feds should now be responsible for issuing marriage licenses. He also wants to not recognize any out of state same sex marriages unless the state where the marriage took place explicitly allows it by law.

    It should also be noted that this probate judge is begging the AL Supreme Court to make this so. He doesn't have the confidence to act on his own legal theories. He's wanting to hide behind the skirts of the state Supreme Court.

  • 3. hoodatsayhoodat  |  October 7, 2015 at 10:50 am

    Right off the bat, "alleged spouse".

    Those fuckers.

  • 4. GregInTN  |  October 7, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    And followed by multiple references to their "illegal marriage"

  • 5. guitaristbl  |  October 7, 2015 at 11:19 am

    I am kind of glad this case exists and this money hungry monster is still banging her head against a wall not for any other reason but because it reminds me that there can be worse people out there than criminal Kim Davis (not by that much but still worse).

  • 6. sfbob  |  October 7, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    Fancher's counsel keeps insisting that Obergefell only applies going forward. This is of course ludicrous since Obergefell itself dealt with a marriage and a death which took place prior to the decision being issued. If I understand correctly, when a law is found to be unconstitutional then it was unconstitutional from the moment it was passed. The other underlying misconception is that Supreme Court decisions constitute some form of legislating and laws generally speaking of course do not apply retroactively. But once again this is a gross misinterpretation of the role of the federal judiciary. Given that Fancher's counsel is headed by the wife of (cough) brilliant legal theorist Justice Roy Moore's wife, I suppose it's understandable that they'd get these little points wrong.

  • 7. RobW303  |  October 7, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    You might want to edit that last statement, though I so wish it were true, for all the delicious implications.

  • 8. sfbob  |  October 7, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Too late to edit now; Intense Debate doesn't allow that (Discus does). I agree there are plenty of delicious implications, as well as some less savory ones.

  • 9. SethInMaryland  |  October 7, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    Isle of Man chief minister comes out as marriage equality legislation debate begins

  • 10. Randolph_Finder  |  October 13, 2015 at 7:51 am

    Interesting article about the entire situation in the Guardian at… . It appears they *may* have a public consultation (which feels like a non-binding referendum) this fall and introduce legislation on the spring…

    Oddest thing is talking about a free vote of the Government's ministers given that the Lower house has 21 independents and 3 members of a party.

    Note, upper house has a voting seat reserved for the Church of England Bishop of Sodor and Man (Note, this is where the idea for the Island of Sodor in Thomas the Tank Engine came from)

  • 11. JayJonson  |  October 7, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    Michigan has just paid the attorneys of Jayne and April Deboer-Rouse, the plaintiffs in the Michigan marriage case, almost $2,000.000. Love it when bigotry hurts.

  • 12. FredDorner  |  October 7, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    One tidbit from the article:

    Conservative economists and social scientists hired by the state for the 2014 trial were paid $148,000.

    LOL……that means the dimwitted bigot Mark Regnerus just got his payday even though he's a very large part of the reason the state lost so decisively.

  • 13. Fortguy  |  October 8, 2015 at 11:48 am

    Mark Regnerus is an even bigger embarrassment for UT-Austin than the Longhorns' special teams.

  • 14. VIRick  |  October 7, 2015 at 9:16 pm

    Michigan Pays $1.9M in Legal Fees for Same-Sex Marriage Case

    The state of Michigan has paid the nearly $2 million legal tab for the Michigan couple whose lawsuit, "DeBoer v. Snyder," helped clear the way for same-sex couples to legally marry. The state was on the hook for the legal bill of the Hazel Park couple, April and Jayne DeBoer-Rowse, who challenged the state’s 2004 ban on same-sex marriage in a landmark federal lawsuit brought in 2012.

    Michigan paid just over $1.9 million in fees as requested by their legal team. Officials for the state of Michigan signed a stipulation in the case in late August 2015, agreeing to pay the fees. Previously, Attorney-General Bill Schuette vigorously defended the 2004 voter-approved same-sex marriage ban, which was struck down as unconstitutional.

    The couple were represented by local attorneys Dana Nessel and Carole Stanyar. Other attorneys, such as Boston attorney Mary Bonauto, the legal director for the Civil Rights Project of GLAAD, later joined the legal team for the historic case. Stanyar said the case brought great personal sacrifice. “Four years without a paycheck, fronting costs in a case of this magnitude, was certainly hard on our families,” Stanyar said on 7 October 2015, the day she received the final payment. “The fee statute was enacted to empower and encourage the vindication of civil rights. I do feel empowered, and very encouraged. So I guess the law is working as Congress intended. If our case motivates younger lawyers to stand up for people, do the right the thing, that would be great.”

    The couple, who legally married in August 2015, won their lawsuit when a ruling in June 2015 by the US Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in the United States as a result of this lawsuit brought by the couple, as well as others from Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

    Michigan taxpayers also paid $96,000 to John Bursch, a lawyer hired by Schuette to defend the same-sex marriage ban (and who argued, and lost, the case before the US Supreme Court). Much earlier, the federal lawsuit included a two-week trial before US District Court Judge Bernard Friedman, who ruled the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. Conservative economists and social scientists hired by the state for the 2014 trial (with what proved to be bogus research findings) were paid $148,000.

    Friedman officiated at DeBoer’s and Rowse’s marriage ceremony in Southfield. During the ceremony, Friedman told the crowd the couple is owed “a big debt of gratitude” for fighting for their constitutional rights in their lawsuit. “Every citizen of the United States that appreciates what our forefathers have done in equal protection … everyone of us owes you a big debt of gratitude,” Friedman said.

    No mention is made of the role played by Sutton and Cook in adding to the over-all legal expense, not even a footnote.

  • 15. VIRick  |  October 7, 2015 at 11:34 pm

    By the way, lest all of my road-trips go to waste, late this afternoon, this glorious day, 7 October 2015, I literally found the road to Sodom.

    Thus, so everyone can be equally informed, the road to Sodom is located in a rural Mennonite area of Trumbull county in easternmost Ohio, and runs north-south on the grid line, due east of Warren OH, and due west of Sharon PA, in Vienna OH 44473.

    Since this is a fairly well-populated area, one would have to conclude that said road to Sodom is lined with Sodomites. We need to spread the word to Kim Davis that some of her very own brethren (and sistren) with their own sincere, deeply-held religious beliefs are, indeed, quite proud to be Sodomites, contentedly living, as they do, along the road to Sodom.

    Furthermore, the cute little house featured in the link is for sale, just in case anyone else here might be interested in buying it so as to join the many Sodomites already happily residing along the road to Sodom.

  • 16. VIRick  |  October 7, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    10 Alabama Counties Still Refuse to Issue Marriage Licenses

    As of the latest up-date per Ballotpedia, at the end of business on 2 October 2015, the following 10 Alabama counties continue to keep their marriage license bureaux shut down and are still not issuing any marriage licenses to anyone (lest they be "forced" to issue one to a same-sex couple):


    At some point during September, Marengo County decided to re-open its marriage license bureau, and is now issuing licenses to everyone, thus bringing the total number of Alabama counties issuing to 57.

  • 17. allan120102  |  October 8, 2015 at 11:49 am

    Are we sure Marengo is issuing ? Aside from ballotpedia I can t find other place that confirms this.

  • 18. Bruno71  |  October 8, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    I think ballotpedia is the only place actively contacting these counties anymore. If they took Marengo off the list, it means they were satisfied after contacting the county probate judge's office that licenses would be issued, and in an equal manner. Whether the info they were told is true or not may still be in question.

    The Marengo County probate judge, Laurie Shoultz Hall, doesn't strike me as someone who would be happy to issue licenses to same-sex couples. But she may just have seen the writing on the wall.

  • 19. 1grod  |  October 8, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    Rick: The October 7 [updated] article regarding Elmore Co probate judge J. Enslen says there are 9 probate judges who refuse to issue marriage licenses to anyone.
    Would be interesting to know which counties that publication includes.
    Enslen says: "As a probate judge, I am currently compelled, and I believe wrongfully, to issue federally-created same-sex marriage licenses or face an onerous federal civil rights action." The other probate judges, including Enslen's neighbor, Autauga Co judge Alfred Booth, should take note. Autauga Co has a population of 55,514, the largest of the hold-out counties.

  • 20. VIRick  |  October 8, 2015 at 8:56 pm

    " The October 7 [updated] article . . . says there are 9 probate judges who refuse to issue marriage licenses to anyone."

    I saw that reference, as well. Unfortunately, AL.Com also did not specify the 9 counties in their count, so we're unable to compare.

    Still, despite his whining and petitioning to the Alabama Supreme Court, looking for some sort of peculiar "fix," Probate Judge Enslen of Elmore County is in compliance with "Obergefell." At least he understands that he is "compelled" to abide by the law, and continues to do his job, unlike the 9 or 10 others.

    Regardless of whether it be 56, 57, or 58 counties in compliance (of 67 total), Alabama continues to have the lowest percentage rate of compliance of all the states. However, ever so slowly, given that Crenshaw County obtained a new judge in early July who is in compliance, while Henry and Houston Counties began complying in late July, and were then followed by Clay and Coosa Counties, and now, apparently, by Marengo County, the number of hold-outs is diminishing, albeit at a snail's pace.

  • 21. 1grod  |  October 9, 2015 at 11:19 am

    Rick – This is a near 30% decrease in number of recalcitrant counties since September 5 when Equality Alabama lists 14.
    Here's hoping that Washington Co probate judge Nick Williams will be next. With the third lowest population of these states (17,541), it had the highest number of marriages in 2012: 391 Nick joined the bench in 2013 for a six year term. He filed a petition for a declaratory judgment or request for a protective order on September 16 with AL's Supreme Court, worried that he might be sent to jail. Beyond being a judge, he is a Baptist Minister, holding a bachelor’s degree from Southwestern Assemblies of God University. G

  • 22. Bruno71  |  October 9, 2015 at 11:50 am

    Nick Williams is going to be the very last judge, or among the very last judges, to comply. He would probably resign first. Let's hope he does.

  • 23. allan120102  |  October 9, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    Imo he will be a Kim Davis. Would do everything in its power to not resign. Imo Autauga and Bibb should be the ones we need to focus as they have the highest population of non compliance. I send a message to equality alabama of which are the counties not complying and they havent answer.

  • 24. Bruno71  |  October 9, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    I'm hoping that the reason no action has taken place in Alabama is because they're waiting for Miller v. Davis to resolve itself fully in Kentucky.

  • 25. 1grod  |  October 9, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    Allan – thank you. Except for Houston County, it has been hard to appreciate their organization's strategy to bringing these reticent counties on board, or how others can help. They last updated on county information on September 5. So asking for an update is indeed timely, particularly with recently saying that there were 9 counties not issuing licenses. To give a perspective, the number of marriages in these 9 or 10 counties comprised 6% of the 39,489 marriages that occur annually in AL.(2012).
    As for Bibb's population, it is the fourth lowest, Washington, Cleburne and Choctaw being lower. It also ranks fourth lowest in number of marriages (2012) with Washington (143), Cleburne (142) and Choctaw (107) marriages in that year.

  • 26. allan120102  |  October 9, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    Thanks 1grod for the clarification on Bibb. I was not sure of them but I thought it was high as it is in the middle of Alabama. Though I was pretty sure of Autauga still not sure why they issued and then stop. The county probate judge surely have a change of heart. Sadly it waa for the worse.

  • 27. Shmoozo  |  October 11, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    I keep wondering whether the next time some of these judges come up for reelection they will face a primary challenger who campaigns on a promise to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples so people in the affected counties won't need to travel so far to get their marriage licenses.

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