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Case Name Sevcik v. Sandoval PB-NV-0001
Docket / Court 2:12-cv-00578-RCJ-PAL ( D. Nev. )
State/Territory Nevada
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Attorney Organization Lambda Legal
Case Summary
Case summary not yet recorded
This is a case brought by eight same-sex couples seeking to marry or have their marriages recognized by the State of Nevada. Represented by Lambda Legal and private counsel, they brought suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, suing the Governor and several clerks/recorders.

The Nevada Constitution prohibits official recognition of same-sex marriages. See Nev. Const. art. I, § 21 ("Only a marriage between a male and female person shall be recognized and given effect in [Nevada]."). There is, however, a law offering "domestic partnership" status to two persons of any gender. Under Nev.Rev. Stat. ch. 122A, Nevada recognizes both out-of-state same-sex marriages and out-of-state same-sex marriage-like relationships as "domestic partnerships." A couple not having the status on the basis of an out-of-state partnership/marriage can enter into a Nevada domestic partnership after satisfying marriage-like eligibility requirements and filing with the Secretary of State a form declaring their decision "to share one another's lives in an intimate and committed relationship of mutual caring." By statute, Nevada gives domestic partners the same rights and responsibilities as spouses, except, most notably, that it "do[es] not require a public or private employer in this State to provide health care benefits to or for the domestic partner of an officer or employee."

On November 26, 2012, Judge Robert Jones, of the District of Nevada, held the Nevada scheme constitutional. The Court first held that the Supreme Court's summary disposition in Baker v. Nelson was largely dispositive; in that case, the Supreme Court summarily dismissed an equal protection challenge to Minnesota's marriage laws for lack of a substantial federal question. In case the Court of Appeals disagreed with this approach, however, the District Court continued to address the issues on the merits. It found that the appropriate constitutional analysis was rational basis scrutiny, because the "homosexual-rights lobby" "has great political power." And applying rational basis review, the court held that Nevada's ban on same-sex marriage was rationally related to its legitimate goal of nurturing heterosexual marriage and families:
Should [marriage] be expanded to include same-sex couples with the state's imprimatur, it is conceivable that a meaningful percentage of heterosexual persons would cease to value the civil institution as highly as they previously had and hence enter into it less frequently, opting for purely private ceremonies, if any, whether religious or secular, but in any case without civil sanction, because they no longer wish to be associated with the civil institution as redefined, leading to an increased percentage of out-of-wedlock children, single-parent families, difficulties in property disputes after the dissolution of what amount to common law marriages in a state where such marriages are not recognized, or other unforeseen consequences."

Accordingly, the court rejected the plaintiffs' claim.

Plaintiffs appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on December 4th, 2012. The 9th Circuit stayed the appeal while the DOMA and Perry cases were pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. On February 10, 2014, the Nevada Attorney General withdrew the state's brief defending the state's same-sex marriage ban because of a recent 9th Circuit case, SmithKline Beecham Corp. v. Abbot Laboratories, which established that laws making distinctions on sexual orientation faced heightened scrutiny. The state did not believe that the ban could survive this level of review.

The 9th Circuit heard oral arguments, on September 8, 2014, before Judges Stephen Reinhardt, Ronald M. Gould, and Marsha S. Berzon. On October 7, the 9th Circuit overturned the district court's decision and held that Nevada's denial of marriage licenses to same-sex couples was unconstitutional. The next day, the Supreme Court (Justice Anthony Kennedy) initially stayed the 9th Circuit's decision. Later in the day, Justice Kennedy reversed himself and lifted the stay as it applied to the state of Nevada.

On October 9, 2014, the Nevada District Court (Judge James Mahan) granted the plaintiffs' motion for an injunction preventing the state from enforcing its same-sex marriage ban in light of the 9th Circuit's decision, and the state began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. On October 13, 2014, appellee Coalition for the Protection of Marriage filed a petition for an en banc rehearing, and on January 9, 2015 the court issued an order denying rehearing. The case was over.

Katrina Fahey - 11/29/2012
Katrina Fahey - 11/10/2013
Andrew Junker - 12/09/2014


compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Sexual orientatation
General
Marriage
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Carson City
Clark County
State of Nevada
Washoe County
Plaintiff Description Eight same-sex couples who desire to marry one another in Nevada or who have validly married one another in other jurisdictions and desire to have their marriages recognized as “marriages” by the State of Nevada.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Lambda Legal
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2014
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Limited Partnership
http://www.limitedpartnershipmovie.com/
By: Thomas G. Miller
[ 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)
2:12-cv-578 (D. Nev.) 11/26/2012
PB-NV-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
12-17668 (U.S. Court of Appeals) 11/24/2014
PB-NV-0001-9001.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 04/10/2012
PB-NV-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 11/26/2012 (2012 WL 5989662) (D. Nev.)
PB-NV-0001-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs- Appellant's Opening Brief and Exhibits 10/18/2013
PB-NV-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amicus Curiae Brief of the ACLU of Nevada and the ACLU of Hawaii 10/29/2013 (2013 WL 5880762)
PB-NV-0001-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
9th Circuit Opinion [rev'g dist. ct.] 10/07/2014 (771 F.3d 456)
PB-NV-0001-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Order [initial stay of 9th Cir. dec'n from Sp. Ct.] 10/08/2014
PB-NV-0001-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Supreme Court website
Order [vacating previous stay of 9th Cir. dec'n by Sp. Ct.] 10/08/2014
PB-NV-0001-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: Supreme Court website
Order enforcing 9th Circuit decision 10/09/2014 (D. Nev.)
PB-NV-0001-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Berzon, Marsha Siegel (Ninth Circuit)
PB-NV-0001-0006
Gould, Ronald Murray (Ninth Circuit)
PB-NV-0001-0006
Jones, Robert Clive (D. Nev.)
PB-NV-0001-0001 | PB-NV-0001-9000 | PB-NV-0001-9001
Kennedy, Anthony McLeod (SCOTUS, Ninth Circuit)
PB-NV-0001-0008 | PB-NV-0001-0009
Leen, Peggy A. (D. Nev.) [Magistrate]
PB-NV-0001-9000
Mahan, James C. (D. Nev.)
PB-NV-0001-0007
Reinhardt, Stephen Roy (Ninth Circuit)
PB-NV-0001-0006
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Azizi, Rahi (California)
PB-NV-0001-0002 | PB-NV-0001-0004 | PB-NV-0001-9000
Borelli, Tara Lynn (California)
PB-NV-0001-0002 | PB-NV-0001-0004 | PB-NV-0001-9000 | PB-NV-0001-9001
Bute, Marek P. (Nevada)
PB-NV-0001-0002 | PB-NV-0001-0004 | PB-NV-0001-9000 | PB-NV-0001-9001
Christofferson, Carla (California)
PB-NV-0001-0002 | PB-NV-0001-0004 | PB-NV-0001-9000 | PB-NV-0001-9001
Cristol, Melanie (California)
PB-NV-0001-0002 | PB-NV-0001-0004 | PB-NV-0001-9000 | PB-NV-0001-9001
Davidson, Jon Warren (California)
PB-NV-0001-0002 | PB-NV-0001-0004 | PB-NV-0001-9000 | PB-NV-0001-9001
Day, Shelbi (California)
PB-NV-0001-0002 | PB-NV-0001-0004 | PB-NV-0001-9000
Dove, Kelly H. (Nevada)
PB-NV-0001-0002 | PB-NV-0001-0004 | PB-NV-0001-9000 | PB-NV-0001-9001
Portnoi, Dimitri (California)
PB-NV-0001-0004 | PB-NV-0001-9001
Renn, Peter C. (California)
PB-NV-0001-0002 | PB-NV-0001-0004 | PB-NV-0001-9000 | PB-NV-0001-9001
Sestito, Dawn (California)
PB-NV-0001-0002 | PB-NV-0001-0004 | PB-NV-0001-9000 | PB-NV-0001-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Albright, D. Chris (Nevada)
PB-NV-0001-9000 | PB-NV-0001-9001
Bower, Daniel W. (Idaho)
PB-NV-0001-9000 | PB-NV-0001-9001
Christian, Matthew Joseph (Nevada)
PB-NV-0001-9001
Foley, Michael L. (Nevada)
PB-NV-0001-9000
Howle, C. Wayne (Nevada)
PB-NV-0001-9000 | PB-NV-0001-9001
Kaplan, Herbert B. (Nevada)
PB-NV-0001-9000 | PB-NV-0001-9001
Munn, Randal R. (Nevada)
PB-NV-0001-9000 | PB-NV-0001-9001
Stewart, Monte N. (Idaho)
PB-NV-0001-9000 | PB-NV-0001-9001
Taylor, Craig C. (Idaho)
PB-NV-0001-9000 | PB-NV-0001-9001
Ward, Joe Jr. (Nevada)
PB-NV-0001-9000 | PB-NV-0001-9001
Other Lawyers Babione, Byron J. (Arizona)
PB-NV-0001-9001
Boccuzzi, Carmine Daniel (New York)
PB-NV-0001-9001
Bonauto, Mary L. (Massachusetts)
PB-NV-0001-9001
Bradley, Gerard V. (Indiana)
PB-NV-0001-9001
Brill, Laura W. (California)
PB-NV-0001-9001
Broyles, Dean Robert (California)
PB-NV-0001-9001
Carmichael, Holly L. (Arizona)
PB-NV-0001-9001
Deeley, Elizabeth L. (California)
PB-NV-0001-9001
Duncan, William C. (Utah)
PB-NV-0001-9001
Dushku, Alexander (Utah)
PB-NV-0001-9001
Eastman, John C. (California)
PB-NV-0001-9001
Ehat, Stephen Kent (Utah)
PB-NV-0001-9001
Fisher, Thomas M. (Indiana)
PB-NV-0001-9001
Gluck, Daniel M (Hawaii)
PB-NV-0001-0005
Goldberg, Suzanne B. (New York)
PB-NV-0001-9001
Kaba, Moez (California)
PB-NV-0001-9001
Keating, Katherine (California)
PB-NV-0001-9001
Krishnapriyan, Raghav (California)
PB-NV-0001-9001
Lichtenstein, Allen (Nevada)
PB-NV-0001-0005
LiMandri, Charles Salvatore (California)
PB-NV-0001-9001
McAlister, Mary Elizabeth (Virginia)
PB-NV-0001-9001
Minter, Shannon (California)
PB-NV-0001-9001
Mosier, Mark William (District of Columbia)
PB-NV-0001-9001
Nadeau, Genevieve (Massachusetts)
PB-NV-0001-9001
O'Donnell, Nicholas M. (Massachusetts)
PB-NV-0001-9001
Pafford, Abram J. (District of Columbia)
PB-NV-0001-9001
Perrin, Lois K (Hawaii)
PB-NV-0001-0005
Piepmeier, Sarah Elizabeth (California)
PB-NV-0001-9001
Pratt, Staci J. (Nevada)
PB-NV-0001-0005 | PB-NV-0001-9001
Roth, Jerome Cary (California)
PB-NV-0001-9001
Smith, Paul M. (District of Columbia)
PB-NV-0001-9001
Snider, Kevin Trent (California)
PB-NV-0001-9001
Swarns, Christina (New York)
PB-NV-0001-9001
Tsai, Rocky C. (California)
PB-NV-0001-9001
Tyler, Robert H. (California)
PB-NV-0001-9001
Wardle, Lynn Dennis (Utah)
PB-NV-0001-9001

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