The city of San Francisco began issuing same-sex marriage licenses in violation of Proposition 22. Proposition 22 is California’s Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which provides that marriage in California is only recognized as being between a man and a woman. These consolidated actions were filed to stop San Francisco from continuing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and to obtain a ruling that the licenses issued were invalid. Now that the Supreme Court has stopped San Francisco from issuing illegal marriage licenses, these actions seek a declaration that California’s marriage statutes are constitutional.
Status: The California Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision, ruled that the California Constitution recognized same-sex “marriage” as a fundamental right.
Proposition 8 was an initiative to amend the California Constitution to define marriage as a union of one man and one woman. Proposition 8 passed on Nov. 4, 2008, and effectively reversed the decision in the Marriage Cases. These actions were filed to request an immediate stay or injunctive relief to halt Proposition 8 from taking effect, claiming that the measure was an illegal constitutional revision, not merely an amendment to the constitution.
Status: On Thursday, March 05, 2009, the Supreme Court heard oral argument on the Prop. 8 cases.
On August 27, 2004, the ACLU and GLAD (the organization that filed the Goodridge lawsuit in Massachusetts) filed a lawsuit on behalf of seven same-sex couples claiming a right to marry under the Connecticut Constitution. Connecticut does not have a DOMA.
Status: On October 10, 2008, the Supreme Court found that sexual orientation is a quasi-suspect class for state constitutional equal protection analysis. Because the state did not offer a sufficient justification for limiting marriage to one man and one woman, the court found that Connecticut’s marriage laws violated its state constitution.
Lambda Legal brought suit on behalf of six same-sex couples in Polk County, Iowa to challenge the state’s definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The plaintiffs base their claims on the due process and equal protection clauses of the Iowa constitution.
Status: This case was appealed to the Supreme Court of Iowa. On June 05, 2008, ADF filed an amicus brief on behalf of several Iowa Legislators in support of Defendant-Appellant. Oral argument was held on December 09, 2008.
ACLU lawsuit claiming a right of same-sex couples to marry each other under the Maryland Constitution. Maryland does not have a DOMA.
Status: The trial court held that the definition of marriage creates a gender classification which is unconstitutional under the state’s Equal Rights Amendment. The Maryland Court of Appeals (high court) granted a direct appeal of the case while briefing was still under way in the mid-level Court of Special Appeals. The Court of Appeals heard oral argument on December 4, 2006 (click here for ADF’s live blog summary of the arguments compiled as they took place). On September 18, 2007 the Court ruled 5-2 in favor of traditional marriage, including a finding that procreation is inextricably intertwined with marriage. The opinion can be found here.
Godfrey v. Spano
This is a taxpayer challenge to Westchester County Executive, Andrew Spano’s executive order which purports to recognize same-sex “marriages” performed in jurisdictions outside New York State. The trial court dismissed the complaint and that order has been appealed to the New York Supreme Court -Appellate Division for the Second Department.
Status: The appellate court held the lower court properly declared the Executive Order is a valid exercise of the County Executive’s power, is not an illegal act, and does not violate the State Constitution or the Municipal Home Rule Law. On February 11, 2009, Appellants filed for leave to appeal in New York’s highest court.
Lewis, et al v. New York State Department of Civil Service, et al.
The Commissioner of the Department of Civil Service has issued an ultra vires policy by enabling legislation to include same-sex “spouses” married out of state. The trial court ruled that the Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment was denied, and granted the Motion to Intervene for the Defendant-Intervenors. The decision stated that the opinion of Martinez v City of Monroe was binding precedent, and therefore the Court must rule against Plaintiffs and allow out-of-state same-sex “marriages” to be recognized in the State of New York. The case is currently on appeal.
Status: The appellate court affirmed the lower court’s decision without costs. They held out-of-state same-sex “marriages” should be recognized by the marriage recognition rule and that the Department of Civil Service did not violate the separation of powers doctrine or usurp the Legislature’s authority to determine out-of-state same-sex “marriages” cannot be recognized in NY. On February 11, 2009, Appellants filed for leave to appeal in New York’s highest court.
A lawsuit filed by Gay & LESBIAN ADVOCATES & DEFENDERS (GLAD) plaintiffs who are citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are seeking to have a judge redefine marriage for the entire country. GLAD feels these same-sex couples are being denied legal protections and benefits under federal law that are available to heterosexual married couples. The lawsuit asks a federal judge to declare portions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)P.L. 104-199, codified in part as 1 U.S.C. § 7 (“DOMA, 1 U.S.C. § 7”), which defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman, unconstitutional.
Status: No response has been filed as of yet.
(Last Updated: 03/09/2009)