University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Jernigan v. Crane PB-AR-0004
Docket / Court 4:13-cv-00410-KGB ( E.D. Ark. )
State/Territory Arkansas
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Case Summary
On July 15, 2013, three same-sex couples filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, challenging the constitutionality of Arkansas's laws prohibiting the marriage of same-sex couples and forbidding the recognition of legitimate same-sex ... read more >
On July 15, 2013, three same-sex couples filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, challenging the constitutionality of Arkansas's laws prohibiting the marriage of same-sex couples and forbidding the recognition of legitimate same-sex marriages entered into in other states. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for both declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that Amendment 83 of the Arkansas Constitution violates plaintiffs' rights under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Two of the plaintiff couples sought to marry under the laws of Arkansas. The third plaintiff couple, married under the laws of New York, sought recognition of their marriage in Arkansas. Specifically, the plaintiffs asked the court to declare that Amendment 83 and other Arkansas laws denying same-sex couples from marrying are unconstitutional, and to require that the State permit same-sex couples to marry and recognize same-sex couples married under the laws of other states.

On July 18, 2013, Judge James Leon Holmes recused himself from the case due to long-standing, close personal and professional relationships with the drafters of Arkansas Amendment 83.

The defendants answered on November 21, 2013 and moved to dismiss the complaint. Plaintiffs then moved for summary judgment. The court (Judge Kristine G. Baker) heard both motions on November 20, 2014 and issued its opinion and order on November 25, 2014. Judge Baker struck down Arkansas' gay-marriage ban as unconstitutional on the basis that it restricted the plaintiffs' fundamental right to marry and that the laws do not survive strict scrutiny, meaning the laws unconstitutionally deny consenting adult same-sex couples their fundamental right to marry in violation of the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. However, the district court put its ruling on hold pending a timely appeal to the Eight Circuit; the defendants filed notice of appeal on Dec. 23, 2014.

The Eighth Circuit deferred further consideration on Apr. 29, 2015, pending the Supreme Court's resolution in Obergefell v. Hodges. On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court held that the 14th Amendment therefore does not allow states to ban same-sex marriage. Justice Kennedy found that the right to marry is fundamental, and it demeans gay and lesbian couples to deprive them of access to marriage.

On Aug. 11, 2015, in light of the decision in Obergefell, the Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's ruling, holding that the challenged laws are unconstitutional. 796 F.3d 976.

The Eighth Circuit granted the plaintiffs $7,463.75 in attorneys' fees, and the district court awarded $19,950.00.

The case is now closed.

Carlyn Williams - 11/01/2013
Alex Wharton - 12/02/2014
Virginia Weeks - 02/19/2018

compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Affected Gender
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Sexual orientatation
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Attorney General's Office
County Clerk's Office
Governor of Arkansas
Plaintiff Description Two lesbian couples wishing to marry and a gay couple married under the laws of New York seek recognition of their marriage under the state laws of Arkansas challenge Arkansas's prohibition on same-sex marriage.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted Moot
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement Confession of Judgment
Order Duration 2014 - n/a
Filed 07/15/2013
Case Closing Year 2015
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PB-MO-0006 : Lawson v. Jackson County Department of Recorder of Deeds (W.D. Mo.)
PB-SD-0001 : Rosenbrahn v. Daugaard (D.S.D.)
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  See this case at (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
4:13-cv-00410-KGB (E.D. Ark.)
PB-AR-0004-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/04/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1-2]
PB-AR-0004-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/15/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order of Recusal [ECF# 3] (E.D. Ark.)
PB-AR-0004-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/18/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Opinion [ECF# 40] (64 F.Supp.3d 1260) (E.D. Ark.)
PB-AR-0004-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 11/25/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
[USCA Opinion] [Ct. of App. ECF# 68] (796 F.3d 976)
PB-AR-0004-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/11/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Baker, Kristine Gerhard (E.D. Ark.) show/hide docs
PB-AR-0004-0003 | PB-AR-0004-9000
Benton, William Duane (Eighth Circuit) show/hide docs
Holmes, James Leon (E.D. Ark.) show/hide docs
PB-AR-0004-0001 | PB-AR-0004-0002
Kearney, Jesse L Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
Smith, Lavenski R. (Eighth Circuit) show/hide docs
Wollman, Roger Leland (Eighth Circuit) show/hide docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Cowan, Sarah (Arkansas) show/hide docs
Mann, Angela Griffith (Arkansas) show/hide docs
PB-AR-0004-0001 | PB-AR-0004-9000
Maples, Cheryl (Arkansas) show/hide docs
Pike, R. Keith (Arkansas) show/hide docs
PB-AR-0004-0001 | PB-AR-0004-9000
Wagoner, Jack III (Arkansas) show/hide docs
PB-AR-0004-0001 | PB-AR-0004-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Fuqua, David M. (Arkansas) show/hide docs
Jorgensen, Colin R. (Arkansas) show/hide docs
Mahfouz, Nga (Arkansas) show/hide docs

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -