University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name General Synod of the United Church of Christ v. Cooper PB-NC-0006
Docket / Court 3:14-cv-00213 ( W.D.N.C. )
State/Territory North Carolina
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Case Summary
On April 28th, 2014, representatives of the United Church of Christ, ministers of various faiths, and congregants all filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the State of North Carolina. The plaintiffs, represented by ... read more >
On April 28th, 2014, representatives of the United Church of Christ, ministers of various faiths, and congregants all filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the State of North Carolina. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the Court to enjoin and declare unconstitutional all North Carolina laws that prohibit same-sex marriage, claiming that they denied the plaintiffs' rights to due process and equal protection.

Specifically, the plaintiffs consisted of three different groups: the Religious Denomination Plaintiff, Clergy Plaintiffs or Minister Plaintiffs, and Couple Plaintiffs. The plaintiffs alleged that by denying same-sex couples the right to marry and prohibiting the couples and clergy to have religious marriage ceremonies, the state was treating same-sex couples as second-class citizens and interfering with the plaintiffs' religious beliefs of marriage equality.

On August 12, 2014, the court ordered that the defendants' motion for a stay be granted, pending the Fourth Circuit's ruling in Bostic v. Schaefer (PB-VA-0005 in this Clearinghouse).

On October 10, 2014, the Court issued a permanent injunction that, in keeping with the decision in Bostic, permanently enjoined the State of North Carolina from enforcing laws banning same-sex marriage or punishing clergy for solemnizing same-sex marriage and refusing to recognize same-sex marriage.

On October 9, 2014, Thom Tillis (North Carolina Speaker of the House of Representatives) and Phil Berger (President Pro Tempore of the North Carolina Senate) filed a motion to intervene on their own behalf and that of their constituents. On October 10, 2014, the Court denied their motion, finding their interests adequately represented by the Attorney General, and in their order issuing the injunction noted that, "...in the hours preceding this Order there have been a number of last minute motions filed by interested parties. The issue before this court is neither a political issue nor a moral issue. It is a legal issue and it is clear as a matter of what is now settled law in the Fourth Circuit that North Carolina laws prohibiting same sex marriage... are unconstitutional." (12 F. Supp. 3d 790.)

On November 7, 2014, Tillis and Berger appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit the District Court's orders denying their motion to intervene as well as the judgment of the Court.

On February 10, 2015, the Court of Appeals placed this case in abeyance pending the United States Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, (PB-OH-0003 in this Clearinghouse.) which is set for argument in the Supreme Court on April 28, 2015, and should be decided by the end of June 2015.

Megan Dolan - 06/18/2014
Claire Lally - 04/03/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Free Exercise Clause
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
Sex discrimination
Sexual orientatation
General
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Marriage
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) State of North Carolina
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs consisted of three different groups: the Religious Denomination Plaintiff, Clergy Plaintiffs or Minister Plaintiffs, and Couple Plaintiffs.
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 Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2014 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing PB-VA-0005 : Bostic v. McDonnell (E.D. Va.)
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)
3:14-cv-00213 (W.D.N.C.) 12/08/2014
PB-NC-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 04/28/2014
PB-NC-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Memorandum of Law In Support of Their Motion for Preliminary Injunction 04/28/2014
PB-NC-0006-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint 06/03/2014
PB-NC-0006-0010.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Granting Motion to Stay] 08/12/2014 (2014 WL 3939331) (W.D.N.C.)
PB-NC-0006-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Order 08/12/2014 (2014 WL 3702493) (W.D.N.C.)
PB-NC-0006-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER 10/10/2014 (12 F.Supp.3d 790) (W.D.N.C.)
PB-NC-0006-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Order Denying Motion to Intervene 10/10/2014 (2014 WL 5094093) (W.D.N.C.)
PB-NC-0006-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Order Denying Motion to Intervene 10/10/2014 (2013 WL 5094093) (W.D.N.C.)
PB-NC-0006-0011.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum 10/14/2014
PB-NC-0006-0004.pdf | Detail
Judges Cogburn, Max Oliver Jr. (W.D.N.C.) [Magistrate]
PB-NC-0006-0003 | PB-NC-0006-0005 | PB-NC-0006-0011
Howell, Dennis L. (W.D.N.C.) [Magistrate]
PB-NC-0006-0006 | PB-NC-0006-0007
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Glazer, Thomas (District of Columbia)
PB-NC-0006-0010 | PB-NC-0006-9000
Gresham, John West (North Carolina)
PB-NC-0006-0001 | PB-NC-0006-0002 | PB-NC-0006-0010 | PB-NC-0006-9000
Kleinschmidt, Mark J. (North Carolina)
PB-NC-0006-0010 | PB-NC-0006-9000
Largess, S. Luke (North Carolina)
PB-NC-0006-0001 | PB-NC-0006-0002 | PB-NC-0006-0010 | PB-NC-0006-9000
Martel, Jonathan (District of Columbia)
PB-NC-0006-0001 | PB-NC-0006-0002 | PB-NC-0006-0010 | PB-NC-0006-9000
Morris, Sean (California)
PB-NC-0006-0010 | PB-NC-0006-9000
Sussman, Jacob H. (North Carolina)
PB-NC-0006-0001 | PB-NC-0006-0002 | PB-NC-0006-0010 | PB-NC-0006-9000
Warlick, Sarah (District of Columbia)
PB-NC-0006-0010 | PB-NC-0006-9000
Weiner, David J. (District of Columbia)
PB-NC-0006-0010 | PB-NC-0006-9000
Witten, Samuel (District of Columbia)
PB-NC-0006-0010 | PB-NC-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Adden, Robert Spencer Jr. (North Carolina)
PB-NC-0006-9000
Anderson, Philip Scott (North Carolina)
PB-NC-0006-9000
Askew, Roger A (North Carolina)
PB-NC-0006-9000
Gibson, Ronald (North Carolina)
PB-NC-0006-9000
Gottschalk, Tikkun A.S. (North Carolina)
PB-NC-0006-9000
Koch, Richard Martin (North Carolina)
PB-NC-0006-9000
Vysotskaya de Brito, Olga Eugenia (North Carolina)
PB-NC-0006-9000
Warren, Scott Wood (North Carolina)
PB-NC-0006-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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