University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Zahrn v. Perry PB-TX-0007
Docket / Court 1:13-CV-00955 ( W.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Case Summary
On October 31, 2014, two same-sex couples who wished to have a state-recognized marriage, filed a lawsuit against the state of Texas in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court to declare that ... read more >
On October 31, 2014, two same-sex couples who wished to have a state-recognized marriage, filed a lawsuit against the state of Texas in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court to declare that Texas laws prohibiting same-sex marriage were unconstitutional, to declare that Texas must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, to enjoin the defendants from enforcing the ban on same-sex marriage, and to award the plaintiffs costs of suit and reasonable attorneys' fees.

The plaintiffs claimed that the Texas laws prohibiting same-sex marriage violated their rights under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the United States Constitution. They further claimed that the ban interfered with their ability to be recognized as a family and obstructed the social and administrative benefits of marriage.

The plaintiffs filed a Motion for Class Certification on February 28, 2014. They wished to form a Plaintiff Class consisting of all Texans who -- though they met all other necessary qualifications -- were denied the right to marry a member of the same sex. On March 12, 2014, the defendants filed a Motion to Stay Case pending an interlocutory appeal in De Leon v. Perry.

On September 10, 2014, Judge Sam Sparks dismissed the Motion for Class Certification and granted the Motion to Stay the Case pending the interlocutory appeal in De Leon v. Perry. The stay was lifted and action on the case began again on February 19, 2015.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court ruled on a different case challenging a same-sex marriage ban, Obergefell v Hodges, on June 26, 2015. The Court held in this case that marriage is a fundamental right protected by the 14th Amendment, therefore a state cannot ban same-sex marriage.

Back in the Western District of Texas, this ruling in Obergefell led the plaintiff to file a Motion for Summary Judgment on July 20, 2015 and the defendant to file a Motion to Dismiss as Moot two days later. Judge Sam Sparks held a hearing on August 21, 2015 to hear all of these matters pending in the case, but a Stipulation of Dismissal by and among the parties was filed on September 4, 2015.

On September 22, 2015 Judge Sam Sparks granted the Stipulation and dismissed the case with prejudice.

Megan Dolan - 07/29/2014
Mackenzie Walz - 03/16/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
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 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) Dana DeBeauvoir
Greg Abbott
Rick Perry
Plaintiff Description The plaintiffs are two same-sex couples residing in Texas who wish to have a state recognized marriage.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Case Closing Year 2015
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PB-TX-0004 : De Leon v. Perry (W.D. Tex.)
PB-TX-0008 : McNosky v. Perry (W.D. Tex.)
Docket(s)
1:13-cv-00955-SS (W.D. Tex.)
PB-TX-0007-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/22/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief - Class Action [ECF# 1]
PB-TX-0007-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/21/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Lawyers Jorgeson, S. Leigh (Texas)
PB-TX-0007-9000
Pittman, Ian E. (Texas)
PB-TX-0007-9000
Scheske, James J. (Texas)
PB-TX-0007-9000
Steed, Jason P. (Texas)
PB-TX-0007-0001 | PB-TX-0007-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Casas, Elaine A. (Texas)
PB-TX-0007-9000
Deane, William T. (Texas)
PB-TX-0007-9000
Kraber, Jennifer (Texas)
PB-TX-0007-9000
Murphy, Michael P. (Texas)
PB-TX-0007-9000
Thomas, Sherine Elizabeth (Texas)
PB-TX-0007-9000
Williams, Andrew M. (Texas)
PB-TX-0007-9000

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