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Case Name General Synod of the United Church of Christ v. Cooper PB-NC-0006
Docket / Court 3:14-cv-00213-MOC-DLH ( W.D.N.C. )
State/Territory North Carolina
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Case Summary
On April 28th, 2014, representatives of the United Church of Christ, ministers of various faiths, and congregants all filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the State of North Carolina. The plaintiffs, represented by ... read more >
On April 28th, 2014, representatives of the United Church of Christ, ministers of various faiths, and congregants all filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the State of North Carolina. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the Court to enjoin and declare unconstitutional all North Carolina laws that prohibit same-sex marriage, claiming that they denied the plaintiffs' rights to due process and equal protection.

Specifically, the plaintiffs consisted of three different groups: the Religious Denomination Plaintiff, Clergy Plaintiffs or Minister Plaintiffs, and Couple Plaintiffs. The plaintiffs alleged that by denying same-sex couples the right to marry and prohibiting the couples and clergy to have religious marriage ceremonies, the state was treating same-sex couples as second-class citizens and interfering with the plaintiffs' religious beliefs of marriage equality.

On August 12, 2014, the court ordered that the defendants' motion for a stay be granted, pending the Fourth Circuit's ruling in Bostic v. Schaefer (PB-VA-0005 in this Clearinghouse).

On October 10, 2014, the Court issued a permanent injunction that, in keeping with the decision in Bostic, permanently enjoined the State of North Carolina from enforcing laws banning same-sex marriage or punishing clergy for solemnizing same-sex marriage and refusing to recognize same-sex marriage.

On October 9, 2014, Thom Tillis (North Carolina Speaker of the House of Representatives) and Phil Berger (President Pro Tempore of the North Carolina Senate) filed a motion to intervene on their own behalf and that of their constituents. On October 10, 2014, the Court denied their motion, finding their interests adequately represented by the Attorney General, and in their order issuing the injunction noted that, "...in the hours preceding this Order there have been a number of last minute motions filed by interested parties. The issue before this court is neither a political issue nor a moral issue. It is a legal issue and it is clear as a matter of what is now settled law in the Fourth Circuit that North Carolina laws prohibiting same sex marriage... are unconstitutional." 12 F. Supp. 3d 790, 2014 WL 5092288, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144383.

On November 7, 2014, Tillis and Berger appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit the District Court's orders denying their motion to intervene as well as the judgment of the Court. On December 8, 2014, the Fourth Circuit consolidated this case together with four other cases.

On February 10, 2015, the Court of Appeals placed this case in abeyance pending the United States Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, (PB-OH-0003 in this Clearinghouse.) which was decided in June 2015.

After the Obergefell decision, the Supreme Court on June 30, 2015 denied the petition for a writ of certiorari. On August 11, 2015, the district court clerk granted the motion to voluntarily dismiss the appeals, and denied the motion to remand to the district court for further proceedings. There was no discussion of attorneys’ fees and costs. As of December 2018, there has been no further docket activity and so the case is presumably closed.

Megan Dolan - 06/18/2014
Claire Lally - 04/03/2015
Dawn Lui - 12/04/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Free Exercise Clause
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
Sex discrimination
Sexual orientatation
General
Gay/lesbian/transgender
Marriage
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) State of North Carolina
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs consisted of three different groups: the Religious Denomination Plaintiff, Clergy Plaintiffs or Minister Plaintiffs, and Couple Plaintiffs.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Filing Year 2014
Case Closing Year 2015
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PB-VA-0005 : Bostic v. McDonnell (E.D. Va.)
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Docket(s)
14-2225 (U.S. Court of Appeals)
PB-NC-0006-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/11/2015
3:14-cv-00213 (W.D.N.C.)
PB-NC-0006-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/12/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PB-NC-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/28/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Memorandum of Law In Support of Their Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 5]
PB-NC-0006-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/28/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint [ECF# 52]
PB-NC-0006-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/03/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Granting Motion to Stay] (2014 WL 3939331) (W.D.N.C.)
PB-NC-0006-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 08/12/2014
Source: Westlaw
Order [ECF# 89] (2014 WL 3702493) (W.D.N.C.)
PB-NC-0006-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 08/12/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER (12 F.Supp.3d 790) (W.D.N.C.)
PB-NC-0006-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 10/10/2014
Order Denying Motion to Intervene (2014 WL 5094093) (W.D.N.C.)
PB-NC-0006-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 10/10/2014
Source: Westlaw
Order Denying Motion to Intervene [ECF# 120] (2013 WL 5094093) (W.D.N.C.)
PB-NC-0006-0011.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 10/10/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum
PB-NC-0006-0004.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 10/14/2014
show all people docs
Judges Cogburn, Max Oliver Jr. (W.D.N.C.) show/hide docs
PB-NC-0006-0003 | PB-NC-0006-0005 | PB-NC-0006-0011 | PB-NC-0006-9000
Howell, Dennis L. (W.D.N.C.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
PB-NC-0006-0006 | PB-NC-0006-0007 | PB-NC-0006-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Glazer, Thomas (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-NC-0006-0010 | PB-NC-0006-9000
Gresham, John West (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PB-NC-0006-0001 | PB-NC-0006-0002 | PB-NC-0006-0010 | PB-NC-0006-9000 | PB-NC-0006-9001
Huffman, Matthew Blake (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-NC-0006-9001
Kleinschmidt, Mark J. (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PB-NC-0006-0010 | PB-NC-0006-9000
Largess, S. Luke (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PB-NC-0006-0001 | PB-NC-0006-0002 | PB-NC-0006-0010 | PB-NC-0006-9000 | PB-NC-0006-9001
Martel, Jonathan (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-NC-0006-0001 | PB-NC-0006-0002 | PB-NC-0006-0010 | PB-NC-0006-9000
Morris, Sean (California) show/hide docs
PB-NC-0006-0010 | PB-NC-0006-9000
Sussman, Jacob H. (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PB-NC-0006-0001 | PB-NC-0006-0002 | PB-NC-0006-0010 | PB-NC-0006-9000 | PB-NC-0006-9001
Warlick, Sarah (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-NC-0006-0010 | PB-NC-0006-9000
Weiner, David J. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-NC-0006-0010 | PB-NC-0006-9000
Witten, Samuel (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-NC-0006-0010 | PB-NC-0006-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Adden, Robert Spencer Jr. (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PB-NC-0006-9000
Anderson, Philip Scott (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PB-NC-0006-9000
Askew, Roger A (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PB-NC-0006-9000
Gibson, Ronald (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PB-NC-0006-9000
Gottschalk, Tikkun A.S. (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PB-NC-0006-9000 | PB-NC-0006-9001
Johnson, Noel H. (Indiana) show/hide docs
PB-NC-0006-9001
Koch, Richard Martin (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PB-NC-0006-9000
Phillips, Kaylan L. (Indiana) show/hide docs
PB-NC-0006-9001
Vanderhulst, Joseph A. (Indiana) show/hide docs
PB-NC-0006-9001
Vysotskaya de Brito, Olga Eugenia (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PB-NC-0006-9000
Warren, Scott Wood (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PB-NC-0006-9000
Other Lawyers Eastman, John C. (California) show/hide docs
PB-NC-0006-9000 | PB-NC-0006-9001
Potter, Robert Daniel (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PB-NC-0006-9000 | PB-NC-0006-9001

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