University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Connolly v. Brewer PB-AZ-0003
Docket / Court 2:14-cv-0024-JWS ( D. Ariz. )
State/Territory Arizona
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Case Summary
On January 6, 2014, when several same-sex couples who were residents of Arizona filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the state of Arizona. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court to declare that all Arizona ... read more >
On January 6, 2014, when several same-sex couples who were residents of Arizona filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the state of Arizona. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court to declare that all Arizona laws banning same-sex marriages are unconstitutional, to compel the defendants to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, to award the plaintiffs nominal damages as well as the costs of suit and attorneys' fees.

In 1996, the state of Arizona banned same-sex marriage, and in 2008 this ban was added to the state constitution in The Marriage Protection Amendment. The plaintiffs claimed that Arizona's laws prohibiting the recognition of same-sex marriages targeted homosexuals for disfavored treatment and interfered with the flow of the plaintiffs' spousal benefits and their ability to build their families. They further allege that these laws violated their rights under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the United States Constitution.

On July 29, 2014, the District court (Judge John W. Sedwick) granted the defendants' motion to dismiss the plaintiffs' claim for nominal damages, ruling that the Eleventh Amendment bars such claims from being brought against state officials.

On October 16, 2014, the District Court (Judge Sedwick) granted the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment. The court ruled that Arizona's laws banning same sex marriage are unconstitutional in light of the Ninth Circuit's decision in Latta v. Otter, and entered a permanent injunction barring their enforcement.

The defendants filed an appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on November 17, 2014. The parties stipulated that the appellate proceedings will be stayed until the Supreme Court's decision in the DeBoer case.

The DeBoer case was decided by the outcome of Obergefell v. Hodges. On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court held that the right to marry is fundamental, 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.

Following the decision in the Supreme Court, the parties jointly stipulated for an entry of judgement for the plaintiff's attorneys' fees and other litigation expenses. On September 29, 2015, the court entered a judgement of $200,000 for the plaintiffs.

Megan Dolan - 07/15/2014
Thomas Topping - 03/16/2015
Carolyn Weltman - 02/21/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
Sexual orientatation
General
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Marriage
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) State of Arizona
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs were several same-sex couples who were residents of Arizona who wished for the state to recognize same-sex marriages.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2014 - 2015
Case Closing Year 2015
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)
2:14-cv-00024-JWS (D. Ariz.) 09/30/2015
PB-AZ-0003-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint For Permanent Injunction and Declaratory Judgment 01/06/2014
PB-AZ-0003-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint For Permanent Injunction and Declaratory Judgment 02/10/2014
PB-AZ-0003-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Opinion [Granting motion to dismiss plaintiffs' claim for nominal damages] 07/29/2014 (D. Ariz.)
PB-AZ-0003-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
ORDER AND OPINION [Granting plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment] 10/17/2014 (2014 WL 5320642) (D. Ariz.)
PB-AZ-0003-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Judgment for Plaintiffs' Attorneys' Fees and Related Nontaxable Expenses 09/30/2015 (D. Ariz.)
PB-AZ-0003-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Sedwick, John W. (D. Alaska)
PB-AZ-0003-0003 | PB-AZ-0003-0004 | PB-AZ-0003-0005 | PB-AZ-0003-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Aiken, Ellen (Arizona)
PB-AZ-0003-0001 | PB-AZ-0003-9000
Aiken, Shawn K. (Arizona)
PB-AZ-0003-0001 | PB-AZ-0003-0002 | PB-AZ-0003-9000 | PB-AZ-0003-9000
Dillon, Mark (Arizona)
PB-AZ-0003-0002 | PB-AZ-0003-9000
Ely, Herbert (Arizona)
PB-AZ-0003-9000
Jordahl, Mikkel Steen (Arizona)
PB-AZ-0003-0002 | PB-AZ-0003-9000
Knight, William Henry (Arizona)
PB-AZ-0003-0001 | PB-AZ-0003-0002 | PB-AZ-0003-9000
Loquvam, Stephanie McCoy (Arizona)
PB-AZ-0003-0002 | PB-AZ-0003-9000
Macre, Heather A. (Arizona)
PB-AZ-0003-0001 | PB-AZ-0003-0002 | PB-AZ-0003-9000
Stevens, Ryan J. (Arizona)
PB-AZ-0003-0002 | PB-AZ-0003-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Allison, Todd Mitchell (Arizona)
PB-AZ-0003-9000
Babione, Byron J. (Arizona)
PB-AZ-0003-9000
Campbell, James A. (Arizona)
PB-AZ-0003-9000
Connelly, Kenneth J (Arizona)
PB-AZ-0003-9000
Dalton, J. Caleb (Arizona)
PB-AZ-0003-9000
Ellman, Robert Lawrence (Arizona)
PB-AZ-0003-9000
Sweeney, Kathleen Patricia (Arizona)
PB-AZ-0003-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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