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Filed under: Darby/Lazaro

Chicago court orders Illinois to issue first same-sex marriage license to terminally-ill woman and partner

Marriage equality comes early to the Land of Lincoln.

Continue 18 Comments November 26, 2013

Illinois marriage equality lawsuit stayed until June 2

Lawsuits filed by Lambda Legal and the ACLU challenging an anti-gay marriage law in Illinois have been stayed until after the newly-passed marriage equality law takes effect.

Continue 40 Comments November 15, 2013

Analysis: Illinois judge allows claims that the state marriage ban violates due process and equal protection to move forward

On Friday, an Illinois judge allowed the challenge to the state’s same-sex marriage ban to move forward. Ultimately, the judge dismissed the sex discrimination claim along with the privacy and special legislation claims, but allowed the others to proceed.

Continue September 30, 2013

Arguments heard in motion to dismiss Illinois marriage challenge

Yesterday, arguments were heard in an attempt to dismiss a challenge filed by Lambda Legal and the ACLU to Illinois’ ban on marriage equality. If the motion to dismiss is granted, it would mean the entire case is dismissed without the judge hearing any evidence.

Continue August 7, 2013

Michigan marriage equality lawsuit to be argued October 1; new filings in Illinois marriage challenges

By Scottie Thomaston

A scheduling conference in the lawsuit challenging Michigan’s same-sex marriage ban, DeBoer v. Snyder, took place yesterday, July 10 in federal district court. The federal judge declined to dismiss the case last week, but did not issue a final ruling or a schedule for further motions or arguments, putting the decision off until yesterday’s conference.

No final decision on the merits of the constitutional challenge to the ban was released yesterday, and the judge has set oral arguments for October 1. Challenges against same-sex marriage bans in Nevada and Hawaii are likely to see oral arguments in October as well, though probably at the end of the month, since an extension of time was sought to file briefs. Those cases are already in the appeals court, though, at the Ninth Circuit.

In Illinois, Lambda Legal has filed a motion for summary judgment in Darby v. Orr and Lazaro v. Orr. This is a request for a decision on the merits, (in the plaintiffs’ favor, in this case.) Their brief in support of summary judgment is much like the one they filed in the New Jersey case: both are state cases, both states have civil unions. In one section, they write:

Plaintiffs who obtained civil unions by license from illinois county clerks currently are denied a number of federal benefits and protections that would be available to them and their families if they could marry now that DOMA has been struck down.

The filing goes on to list specific ways civil unions deny same-sex couples equal protection under the law afforded to opposite-sex couples. There is no timeline for the court to act in the case.

2 Comments July 11, 2013

ACLU announces three new marriage equality suits, pushes forward in Illinois suit

By Jacob CombsPennsylvania state seal

Some big news out of the LGBT legal world: the ACLU today announced plans today for three new marriage equality lawsuits, one of which it filed today in a Pennsylvania court seeking equal marriage rights on behalf of 23 plaintiffs.

According to the New York Times, a key impetus for the new federal challenge, filed in a district court in Harrisburg, is the makeup of the Pennsylvania legislature, whose deep-red hue makes it unlikely that marriage equality legislation could be approved in the next few years.  Pennsylvania law prohibits marriage between individuals of the same sex, although the state does not have a constitutional amendment banning such unions.

In addition to the Pennsylvania suit, the ACLU plans to redouble its legal efforts in North Carolina, where it will today amend the initial complaint filed in a case called Fisher-Borne v. Smith in which six couples filed suit seeking second-parent adoption rights.  The amended complaint will call for an invalidation of North Carolina’s Amendment One, the marriage equality ban voters approved last May to be added into the state constitution.  The ACLU is teaming up with the ACLU of North Carolina in that case.

The third lawsuit, in cooperation with Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Virginia, will be filed later this summer in Virginia, and is currently in the planning stages, including a search for the right plaintiffs.

In the Pennsylvania case, Whitewood v. Corbett, the plaintiffs allege that Pennsylvania’s marriage equality ban violates both the due process and equal protection rights in the U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment.  The complaint alleges that the law should be considered under heightened scrutiny “because it burdens the fundamental right to marry and because it discriminates based on sex and sexual orientation.”

Ultimately, the end goal for equal marriage advocates behind new lawsuits like the ones announced today by the ACLU is a Supreme Court ruling mandating nationwide marriage equality.  “We think what the map of the country looks like is going to make a big difference to how the issues in the case feel to the Supreme Court,” James Esseks, national director of the ACLU’s LGBT project, told the New York Times. “Will we have the 13 states plus D.C., or will we be at 20 or more?”

In addition to today’s announcement, the ACLU and Lambda Legal said today that they will file a motion for summary judgment in an Illinois state court seeking an end to two combined marriage equality lawsuits in that state known as Darby v. Orr and Lazaro v. Orr.  The groups plan to file the new motion tomorrow.

4 Comments July 9, 2013

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