University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Searcy v. Davis PB-AL-0011
Docket / Court 1:15-cv-00104 ( S.D. Ala. )
State/Territory Alabama
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Case Summary
This lawsuit stems from Searcy v. Strange, (PB-AL-0005 in this Clearinghouse), in which a federal district court held that Alabama's same-sex marriage ban violated the U.S. Constitution. That case involved a same-sex couple, legally ... read more >
This lawsuit stems from Searcy v. Strange, (PB-AL-0005 in this Clearinghouse), in which a federal district court held that Alabama's same-sex marriage ban violated the U.S. Constitution. That case involved a same-sex couple, legally married in California, whose adoption petition was denied in Alabama because they were not considered "spouses" under a state law, which allowed a non-biological parent to adopt the spouse's child.

On February 9, 2015, the Searcy v. Strange order went into effect: the ban on same-sex marriage was now illegal in Alabama, at least according to the federal courts. The same-sex couple re-filed their adoption petition in Mobile County, Alabama.

Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis issued an initial adoption decree but he added language saying "that this Decree is qualified in nature, and the Court will not issue a final adoption order until a final ruling is issued in the United States Supreme Court on the Marriage Act cases before it."

On February 24, 2015, the non-biological parent filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against Probate Judge Davis, claiming that he violated her rights under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, asked the court to order the probate judge to vacate his qualified adoption order and to issue a new order without the added language.

On March 26, 2015, Judge Callie V. S. Granade granted the plaintiff's motion to dismiss. After the complaint was filed, Probate Judge Davis had removed the qualified language from the adoption decree, giving the couple what they wanted.

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
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Sexual orientatation
General
Adoption
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Marriage
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis
Plaintiff Description The non-biological parent in a same-sex marriage who wants to adopt her spouse's biological child
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 2015
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PB-AL-0005 : Searcy v. Bentley (S.D. Ala.)
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)
1:15-cv-00104-CG-N (S.D. Ala.) 03/26/2015
PB-AL-0011-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint and Request For Preliminary and Permanent Injunctive Relief 02/24/2015
PB-AL-0011-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Granade, Callie V. (S.D. Ala.)
PB-AL-0011-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Hernandez, Christine Cassie (Alabama)
PB-AL-0011-0001 | PB-AL-0011-9000
Kennedy, David Graham (Alabama)
PB-AL-0011-0001 | PB-AL-0011-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Boardman, Mark S. (Alabama)
PB-AL-0011-9000
Carr, Clay Richard (Alabama)
PB-AL-0011-9000
Druhan, Joseph Michael Jr. (Alabama)
PB-AL-0011-9000
Hale, Lee L. (Alabama)
PB-AL-0011-9000
Petelos, Teresa Bearden (Alabama)
PB-AL-0011-9000
Satterwhite, Harry V. (Alabama)
PB-AL-0011-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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