On April 22, 2013, an inmate of the Nebraska Department of Corrections and his intended spouse filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court in the District of Nebraska under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Nebraska Department of Corrections. The plaintiffs represented themselves pro se and claimed ...
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On April 22, 2013, an inmate of the Nebraska Department of Corrections and his intended spouse filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court in the District of Nebraska under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Nebraska Department of Corrections. The plaintiffs represented themselves pro se and claimed that their constitutional rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, Due Process Clause, and Equal Protection Clause have been violated. They asked the court to allow the transgender plaintiff to change the sex listed on her birth certificate, to allow her to marry the male plaintiff, for the free plaintiff to gain visitation rights to the incarcerated plaintiff, and for the plaintiffs to be allowed to wear hats during Quaker religious ceremonies.
One half of the plaintiff couple is an inmate who wishes to marry the other half the couple, who is a transgender woman and a former inmate in the facility in which the other plaint still resides. This prison does not allow former inmates to visit those that are still incarcerated for a period three years after their release unless there is an immediate family relationship. The plaintiffs claim that this restriction on visitation interferes with their First Amendment right to freedom of association, and that Nebraska's ban on same-sex marriage violated their constitutional rights under the Equal Protection and Due Process Clause. They further allege that their inability to marry denies the couple many benefits that married couples enjoy.
On April 17, 2014, the court (Senior Judge Richard G. Kopf) ordered that all the plaintiffs' claims were dismissed except the one alleging interference of First Amendment rights, which was allowed to proceed to service of process. Senior Judge Richard G. Kopf stated that the plaintiffs' motion to allow the wearing of hats for religious reasons was unrelated to the to the claims alleged in the complaint, and that the plaintiffs must address this claim in a separate action.
The plaintiffs appealed, and as of August 3, 2014, this case is still ongoing.Megan Dolan - 08/05/2014