University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Lui v. Holder IM-CA-0066
Docket / Court 2:11-cv-01267 ( C.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Immigration
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Case Summary
This is a case about the immigration consequences of a same-sex marriage between a U.S. citizen and an alien -- here, a citizen of Indonesia.

The Indonesian citizen, apparently facing removal proceedings, was the subject of a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decision against him. ... read more >
This is a case about the immigration consequences of a same-sex marriage between a U.S. citizen and an alien -- here, a citizen of Indonesia.

The Indonesian citizen, apparently facing removal proceedings, was the subject of a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decision against him. There seem not to be any publicly available documents that clarify the grounds of that decision. But in any event, prior to the appeal of the adverse BIA decision to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (which was filed in July 2, 2009, under appeal number 09-72068), the couple married in Massachusetts on April 9, 2009. On the same day, the U.S. citizen filed an I-130 petition on behalf of the Indonesian citizen with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) California Service Center. The petition sought permission for the Indonesian citizen to immigrate, as an immediate relative of the U.S. citizen. On August 28, 2009, USCIS denied that I-130 petition; plaintiff appealed to the BIA. (The earlier 9th Circuit appeal was stayed, while the BIA considered the matter.) On January 20, 2011, the BIA dismissed Plaintiffs' appeal of the I-130 Petition Denial.

Plaintiffs then brought this case in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, claiming that the U.S.'s refusal to grant the Petition on the basis of Plaintiffs' same-sex marriage constitutes sex discrimination in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) anti-discrimination provision, 8 U.S.C. § 1152(a)(1)(A), and that Defendants' application of definition of marriage from the federal Defense of Marriage Act, in making the determination that a same-sex spouse is not an "immediate relative" for I-130 petition purposes, violated their constitutional due process and equal protection rights.

The U.S. opposed the suit, taking the position that refusal to credit the validity of same-sex marriages did not violate the INA. However, because the Obama administration had previously announced that it would enforce but not defend the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the "Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group" (BLAG) appeared for the U.S. House of Representatives as an intervenor, and filed its opposition to Plaintiffs' constitutional challenge to DOMA.

On September 28, 2011, the District Court (Stephen Wilson, J.) rejected the plaintiffs' claims and dismissed the suit, without prejudice. The court held that it was bound by the 9th Circuit precedent of Adams v. Howerton, 673 F.2d 1036 (9th Cir. 1982), which also involved an I-130 immediate relative petition filed by a party to a same-sex marriage. Under that case, the court explained, federal disregard of a same-sex marriage did not constitute an Equal Protection Clause violation. In addition, the court rejected the idea that such disregard amounted to sex, rather than sexual orientation, discrimination.

Plaintiffs filed a motion to amend their complaint on October 14, 2011, but rather than permitting the amendment, the court informed the plaintiffs (on November 3, 2011) that they could freely file a new complaint, instead.

Both BLAG and the U.S. appealed (these appeals were given the numbers 11-57072 and 11-57166, respectively), but both soon voluntarily dismissed their appeals, in February 2012. That left in place the 2009 appeal by the Indonesian citizen, from the adverse BIA decision (Appeal No. 09-72068). BLAG filed a notice that it will not appear in the case, so it seems it did not raise the same-sex marriage issue. The Indonesian citizen asked for a remand to the BIA in that matter, but in 2012 voluntarily dismissed the appeal.

Nadji Allan - 10/23/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
Sexual orientatation
General
Disparate Treatment
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Marriage
Immigration
Family
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §§ 1101 et seq.
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Defendant(s) U.S.
Plaintiff Description Same-sex married couple seeking recognition of their marriage for immigration purposes.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2013
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Limited Partnership
http://www.limitedpartnershipmovie.com/
By: Thomas G. Miller
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Threats to the Future of the Immigration Class Action
Washington University Journal of Law and Policy
By: Jill E. Family (Widener University School of Law)
Citation: 27 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 71 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  United States Government says L.A. Gay Couple’s 1975 Marriage is Valid
The Pride L.A.
Written: Jun. 07, 2016
By: Troy Masters
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:11-cv-1267 (C.D. Cal.) 02/22/2012
IM-CA-0066-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
11-57166 (U.S. Court of Appeals) 04/06/2012
IM-CA-0066-9001.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
11-57072 (U.S. Court of Appeals) 04/06/2012
IM-CA-0066-9003.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
09-72068 (U.S. Court of Appeals) 10/30/2012
IM-CA-0066-9002.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order 09/28/2011 (C.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0066-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 11/03/2011 (C.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0066-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Gandhi, Jay C. (C.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
IM-CA-0066-9000
Wilson, Stephen Victor (C.D. Cal.)
IM-CA-0066-0001 | IM-CA-0066-0002 | IM-CA-0066-9000 | IM-CA-0066-9001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Holguín, Carlos R. (California)
IM-CA-0066-9000 | IM-CA-0066-9001 | IM-CA-0066-9003
Manulkin, Gary H. (California)
IM-CA-0066-9000 | IM-CA-0066-9001 | IM-CA-0066-9002 | IM-CA-0066-9003
Schey, Peter A. (California)
IM-CA-0066-9000 | IM-CA-0066-9001 | IM-CA-0066-9003
Singer, Michael Jay (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0066-9001 | IM-CA-0066-9003
Tanner, Reyna Manulkin (California)
IM-CA-0066-9000 | IM-CA-0066-9001 | IM-CA-0066-9002 | IM-CA-0066-9003
Defendant's Lawyers Bartolomucci, H. Christopher (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0066-9000 | IM-CA-0066-9001 | IM-CA-0066-9003
Carlson, Jesi J. (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0066-9000 | IM-CA-0066-9001 | IM-CA-0066-9003
Clement, Paul D. (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0066-9000 | IM-CA-0066-9001 | IM-CA-0066-9003
Davenport, Christine (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0066-9000 | IM-CA-0066-9001 | IM-CA-0066-9003
Dugan, Conor Brendan (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0066-9000
Filamor, John D. (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0066-9000
Flentje, August E. (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0066-9003
Kingsley, Benjamin S. (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0066-9001 | IM-CA-0066-9003
Kircher, Kerry W. (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0066-9000 | IM-CA-0066-9001 | IM-CA-0066-9003
Kline, David J. (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0066-9001
Konar, Kirsten W. (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0066-9000 | IM-CA-0066-9001 | IM-CA-0066-9003
McCarron, Katherine E. (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0066-9000
Menkin, Jeffrey Lawrence (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0066-9002
Nelson, Nicholas J. (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0066-9001
Orrick, William Horsley III (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0066-9001 | IM-CA-0066-9003
Pittard, William (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0066-9000 | IM-CA-0066-9001 | IM-CA-0066-9003
Robins, Jeffrey S (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0066-9001
Tatelman, Todd B. (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0066-9003
West, Tony (District of Columbia)
IM-CA-0066-9001
Other Lawyers None on record

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