University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Obergefell v. Hodges PB-OH-0003
Docket / Court 1:13-cv-00501-TSB ( S.D. Ohio )
State/Territory Ohio
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Case Summary
On July 19, 2013, two men, married in Maryland, filed suit in the Southern District of Ohio seeking declaratory and injunctive relief compelling Ohio to recognize their marriage. The complaint was based on Ohio's alleged violation of plaintiffs' rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments of ... read more >
On July 19, 2013, two men, married in Maryland, filed suit in the Southern District of Ohio seeking declaratory and injunctive relief compelling Ohio to recognize their marriage. The complaint was based on Ohio's alleged violation of plaintiffs' rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitutions. Plaintiff John Arthur was suffering from late stage ALS and was likely to die soon. Plaintiffs were married in Maryland and claimed that Ohio's refusal to recognize their marriage on John's probable death certificate, while simultaneously recognizing the unions of heterosexual couples married outside Ohio whose unions would not be allowed inside Ohio, is unconstitutional.

On July 22, 2013, Judge Timothy Black issued a temporary restraining order, stipulating that should the plaintiff die, Ohio was barred from recording a death certificate that did not reflect the plaintiffs' marriage. Judge Black reasoned that Ohio had a long history of accepting out of state marriages for purposes of death certificates and the like. Therefore, under Windsor, failure to recognize Plaintiffs' union would be unconstitutional discrimination that could not be construed as supported by a state interest.

John died on October 22, 2013, but the court denied a motion to dismiss. The court issued a permanent injunction on December 23, 2014.

On November 6, 2014, the Sixth Circuit ruled on this and other cases from four states. DeBoer v. Snyder (PB-MI-0004 in this Clearinghouse). Henry v. Hodges (PB-OH-0004 in this Clearinghouse). Love v. Beshear (PB-KY-0001 in this Clearinghouse). Tanco v. Haslam (PB-TN-0005 in this Clearinghouse). It was unwilling to find a Constitutional basis to deny states' authority to define marriage. On the Due Process and Equal Protection claims raised in this case, the court found that it was bound by Supreme Court precedent in Baker v. Nelson, 191 N.W.2d 185 (Minn. 1971), which it found not overruled by Windsor nor by "doctrinal developments". It found that the bans were plausibly rational, and neither in violation of the Constitution nor due to illegal animus or discrimination. It also held that "[i]f it is constitutional for a State to define marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman, it is also constitutional for the State to stand by that definition with respect to couples married in other States or countries." (DeBoer v. Snyder Page p. 38). Accordingly, the Sixth Circuit upheld the same-sex marriage bans in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee. 772 F.3d 388.

The Supreme Court granted certiorari review of all the 6th Circuit cases on Jan. 16, 2015. Bourke v. Beshear, 135 S. Ct. 1041 (2015). The Court rephrased the questions presented as: 1) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license marriage between two people of the same sex? 2) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?

On June 26, 2015, the Court reversed, in an opinion by Justice Kennedy. The right to marry is fundamental, the Court held, and it demeans gay and lesbian couples to deprive them of access to marriage. The 14th Amendment therefore does not allow states to ban same-sex marriage. Kennedy was joined without further writing by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Kagan, and Sotomayor. Each of the four dissenters--Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito--wrote a dissent.

Chris MacColl - 03/30/2014
Thomas Topping - 02/15/2015
- 06/26/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Full faith and credit
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Sexual orientatation
General
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Marriage
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) State of Ohio
Plaintiff Description Partners in same sex relationship seeking to marry.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2015 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing PB-OH-0004 : Henry v. Wymyslo (S.D. Ohio)
PB-MI-0004 : DeBoer v. Snyder (E.D. Mich.)
PB-KY-0001 : Love v. Beshear (W.D. Ky.)
PB-TN-0005 : Tanco v. Haslam (M.D. Tenn.)
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 ]

Links Oral Argument in Same Sex Marriage Cases
Oyez.com
Posted: Apr. 28, 2015
By: Oyez
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:13−cv−00501 (S.D. Ohio) 11/20/2014
PB-OH-0003-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
VERIFIED COMPLAINT FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF 07/19/2013
PB-OH-0003-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order 07/22/2013 (2013 WL 3814262) (S.D. Ohio)
PB-OH-0003-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint 09/26/2013
PB-OH-0003-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
ORDER DENYING THE MOTION TO DISMISS 11/01/2013 (980 F.Supp.2d 907) (S.D. Ohio)
PB-OH-0003-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
DECLARATORY JUDGMENT AND PERMANENT INJUNCTION 12/23/2013 (962 F.Supp.2d 968) (S.D. Ohio)
PB-OH-0003-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [Reversing Judgment of the District Court] 11/06/2014 (772 F.3d 388)
PB-OH-0003-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Opinion [Consolidating Case and Granting Certiorari] 01/16/2015 (135 S.Ct. 1039)
PB-OH-0003-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Supreme Court Opinion 06/26/2015 (135 S.Ct. 2584)
PB-OH-0003-0008.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Supreme Court website
Judges Alito, Samuel A. Jr. (SCOTUS, Third Circuit)
PB-OH-0003-0008
Black, Timothy Seymour (S.D. Ohio) [Magistrate]
PB-OH-0003-0003 | PB-OH-0003-0004 | PB-OH-0003-9000
Cook, Deborah L. (Sixth Circuit)
PB-OH-0003-0006
Daughtrey, Martha Craig (Sixth Circuit)
PB-OH-0003-0006
Kennedy, Anthony McLeod (SCOTUS, Ninth Circuit)
PB-OH-0003-0008
Roberts, John Glover Jr. (SCOTUS, D.C. Circuit)
PB-OH-0003-0008
Scalia, Antonin (SCOTUS, D.C. Circuit)
PB-OH-0003-0008
Sutton, Jeffrey S. (Sixth Circuit)
PB-OH-0003-0006 | PB-OH-0003-0007
Thomas, Clarence (SCOTUS, D.C. Circuit)
PB-OH-0003-0008
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Branch, Jennifer L. (Ohio)
PB-OH-0003-9000
Gerhardstein, Alphonse A. (Ohio)
PB-OH-0003-0002 | PB-OH-0003-0005 | PB-OH-0003-9000
Martin, Jacklyn Gonzalez (Ohio)
PB-OH-0003-9000
Meeks, Lisa T. (Ohio)
PB-OH-0003-0005 | PB-OH-0003-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Armstrong, Kristopher J (Ohio)
PB-OH-0003-9000
Coontz, Bridget C (Ohio)
PB-OH-0003-9000
Herzig, Aaron Mark (Ohio)
PB-OH-0003-9000
Keller, Zachary Paul (Ohio)
PB-OH-0003-9000
Nestor, Terrance A (Ohio)
PB-OH-0003-9000
Stackpole, Peter J. (Ohio)
PB-OH-0003-9000
Other Lawyers La Rue, Joseph E. (Arizona)
PB-OH-0003-9000

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