University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Aaron-Brush v. Bentley PB-AL-0006
Docket / Court 2:14-cv-01091 ( N.D. Ala. )
State/Territory Alabama
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
Case Summary
On June 10, 2014, a same-sex couple who had been legally married outside the State of Alabama filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against the State of Alabama. The plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU and private counsel, asked ... read more >
On June 10, 2014, a same-sex couple who had been legally married outside the State of Alabama filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against the State of Alabama. The plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU and private counsel, asked the Court for declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that Alabama's refusal to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples validly entered into outside of the State violated the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The plaintiffs were married in Massachusetts in June 2012. They have been together for 17 years and now reside in Alabama. The plaintiffs have a seven-year-old daughter. The plaintiffs' suit challenged the constitutionality of Section 36.03 of the Alabama Constitution and Alabama Code § 30-1-19 which prohibit the State from recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples entered into in other jurisdictions. The plaintiffs claimed that Alabama's refusal to recognize their marriage unlawfully denied them numerous benefits and legal protections available to opposite-sex couples, including the right to make medical decisions for an incapacitated spouse, file joint tax returns, and gain access to health insurance, retirement benefits, property protections, and inheritance.

On September 22, 2014, the District Court for the Northern District of Alabama (Judge R. David Proctor) dismissed the claims against the Alabama governor, granting the parties' joint motion.

On February 5, 2015, in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's pending decision in Obergefell v. Hodges (PB-OH-0003 in this Clearinghouse), which is expected by the end of June 2015, Judge Proctor granted the parties' joint motion to amend the scheduling order: all potentially dispositive motions are now due by July 31, 2015.

Nate West - 11/20/2014
David Hamstra - 04/08/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Discrimination-basis
Family discrimination
Gender identity
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 Alabama
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are a same-sex couple who were legally married out of state.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
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-1091 (N.D. Ala.) 02/05/2015
PB-AL-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 06/10/2014
PB-AL-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Proctor, R. David (N.D. Ala.)
PB-AL-0006-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Crew, Wendy Brooks (Alabama)
PB-AL-0006-0001 | PB-AL-0006-9000
Dillard, Joel E. (Alabama)
PB-AL-0006-0001 | PB-AL-0006-9000
Esseks, James Dixon (New York)
PB-AL-0006-0001 | PB-AL-0006-9000
Livingston, Avery Corinne (Alabama)
PB-AL-0006-0001 | PB-AL-0006-9000
Marshall, Randall C (Florida)
PB-AL-0006-0001 | PB-AL-0006-9000
Segall, Robert D. (Alabama)
PB-AL-0006-0001 | PB-AL-0006-9000
Segall, Joshua Steven (Alabama)
PB-AL-0006-9000
Still, Edward (Alabama)
PB-AL-0006-0001 | PB-AL-0006-9000
Strangio, Chase (New York)
PB-AL-0006-0001 | PB-AL-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Byrne, David Bryson Jr. (Alabama)
PB-AL-0006-9000
Davis, James William (Alabama)
PB-AL-0006-9000
Howell, Laura Elizabeth (Alabama)
PB-AL-0006-9000
Lowe, J. Haran (Alabama)
PB-AL-0006-9000
McCollum, Frank Timothy (Alabama)
PB-AL-0006-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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