University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Hedgepeth v. Davis PB-AL-0010
Docket / Court 1:15-cv-00067-CG-C ( S.D. Ala. )
State/Territory Alabama
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Case Summary
On February 9, 2015, the orders in Searcy v. Strange (PB-AL-0005 in this Clearinghouse) and Strawser v. Strange (PB-AL-0010 in this Clearinghouse), took effect: the ban on ... read more >
On February 9, 2015, the orders in Searcy v. Strange (PB-AL-0005 in this Clearinghouse) and Strawser v. Strange (PB-AL-0010 in this Clearinghouse), took effect: the ban on same-sex marriage was now illegal in Alabama, at least according to the federal courts. However, the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court strongly disagreed. He had sent an order to probate judges and state employees, threatening them with legal action by the governor, if they issued or recognized same-sex marriage licenses. The chief justice claimed that the federal court orders bound only the Alabama Attorney General and his employees and no one else.

Alabama's probate judges faced competing orders: the federal court's would allow same-sex marriage, but the chief justice's would not. The result was legal chaos. Some probate judges followed the federal court order and issued same-sex marriage licenses but most probate judges refused and many ceased issuing marriage licenses entirely, including the Mobile County Probate Court.

On February 9, 2015, the attorneys in Searcy v. Davis filed this lawsuit, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, on behalf of same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses that day in Mobile County. The defendants were the Alabama Governor, Attorney General, Chief Justice, and various Mobile County officials. Plaintiffs claimed that their Fourteenth Amendment rights were being violated and they requested an emergency injunction commanding the defendants to issue marriage licenses.

On February 10, 2015, the District Court (Judge Callie V. S. Granade) denied the plaintiffs' request for immediate relief but it invited them to participate in a preliminary injunction hearing, in Strawser, in two days time. On February 24, 2015, Judge Granade dismissed the Mobile County officials from the case, granting the stipulation for dismissal filed by plaintiffs and the county officials.

In response to the Strawser litigation, the plaintiffs eventually got their marriage licenses. As a result, on March 26, 2015, Judge Granade granted their motion to dismiss: the claims against the governor were dismissed with prejudice; but the claims against the attorney general and the chief justice would be dismissed without prejudice unless they filed an objection before April 2, which the chief justice did.

As of April 8, 2015, Judge Granade has yet to rule on that objection.

David Hamstra - 04/08/2015

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Sexual orientatation
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) State of Alabama
Plaintiff Description Same-sex couples denied marriage licenses in Mobile County, Alabama
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 Voluntary Dismissal
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing PB-AL-0008 : Strawser v. Strange (S.D. Ala.)
PB-AL-0005 : Searcy v. Bentley (S.D. Ala.)
PB-AL-0012 : Hathcote v. Green (N.D. Ala.)
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Limited Partnership
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 ]

1:15-cv-00067-CG-C (S.D. Ala.) 04/02/2015
PB-AL-0010-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint And Request For Immediate Injunctive Relief 02/09/2015
PB-AL-0010-0001 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 02/10/2015 (S.D. Ala.)
PB-AL-0010-0002 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 03/26/2015 (S.D. Ala.)
PB-AL-0010-0003 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Granade, Callie V. (S.D. Ala.)
PB-AL-0010-0002 | PB-AL-0010-0003 | PB-AL-0010-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Hernandez, Christine Cassie (Alabama)
PB-AL-0010-0001 | PB-AL-0010-9000
Kennedy, David Graham (Alabama)
PB-AL-0010-0001 | PB-AL-0010-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Agricola, Algert Swanson Jr. (Alabama)
Byrne, David Bryson Jr. (Alabama)
Davis, James William (Alabama)
Druhan, Joseph Michael Jr. (Alabama)
Howell, Laura Elizabeth (Alabama)
McElvy, James Douglas (Alabama)
Olson, William J. (Virginia)
Satterwhite, Harry V. (Alabama)
Titus, Herbert W. (Virginia)
Wible, Elizabeth C. (Alabama)
Other Lawyers None on record

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