- Civil marriage equality cannot legally be denied at the state level, via the Supreme Court of the United States, as of 26 June 2015. (Same-sex couples have the legal right to marry.)
- On 26 June 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled FOR marriage equality and that same-gender couples have the constitutional right to marry in all 50 states and all U.S. territories.
- 9 July 2015, Opinion: Judges Can't Refuse to Perform Same-Sex Marriages - From NBC Nebraska
- MARRIAGE EQUALITY FAQ
- If a marriage license is refused to you, please contact one of the following legal organizations immediately!
- A state constitutional ban on marriage equality and civil unions was established in 2000, per Initiative Measure 416. Recognition of same-sex relationships "by any other name" was also prohibited.
- A federal court challenge to the ban, Citizens for Equal Protection v. Bruning, won in the U.S. District Court in 2005, but lost in the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2006. Opponents of the constitutional amendment did not seek review of the decision by SCOTUS.
- Nebraska extended hospital visitation rights to same-sex couples through a "designated visitor" statute.
- 28 January 2014, Sarpy County commissioners decided to extend health insurance benefits to spouses of gay county employees who legally married in another state but live in Nebraska.
- August 2014, Sue Stroesser was denied a Nebraska driver's license because her previous license was under her maiden name and her name changed when she married her wife in Iowa. Nebraska didn't recognize that marriage.
- 12 November 2014, Nebraska's incoming Attorney General (8 January 2015) planned to defend the state ban on marriage equality and believed he could so so successfully.
- 2 March 2015, in the Waters marriage case (see under LAWSUITS-PENDING below), Senior Federal Judge Joseph Bataillon ruled that the NE state ban on marriage equality was unconstitutional!
- 4 March 2015, One Couple’s Story of Why We Need Marriage Equality in Nebraska and Nationwide - MEUSA News Blog
- On 5 March 2015, Bataillon's ruling was stayed pending appeal.
- 29 April 2015, the Court, of its own accord, put the 8th Circuit oral arguments and all further proceedings on hold until SCOTUS ruled in the marriage cases.
- SCOTUS ruled in favor of marriage equality on 26 June 2015.
Lawsuits - Pending
Driskell v. Homosexuals
Case #: 8:15-cv-00158-JMG-PRSE
Court Level: Federal District
Date Filed: 1 May 2015
Date Dismissed: 7 May 2015
- 1 May 2015, Sylvia Driskell, 66, of Auburn, filed suit asking an Omaha federal judge to decide whether homosexuality is a sin. Driskell filed a handwritten complaint claiming to be an ambassador for God and his son, Jesus Christ.
NOTE: No, this isn't a joke. This actually occurred in the twilight reality where our opponents vye to see who can do/say the absolutely most bizarre thing.
- 5 May 2015, the case was assigned to Judge John M. Gerrard and placed on the docket.
- 5 May 2015, My husband and I are being sued for being homosexuals - By Stephen Payne, Daily Kos
- 6 May 2015, Nebraska woman files suit in federal court against all homosexuals - By Alissa Skelton, World-Herald staff writer
- 7 May 2015, whoopsie! Judge Tosses Lawsuit By Nebraska Woman Suing 'All Homosexuals' On Behalf Of Jesus - By David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement. Here's the dismissal order. Bummer man, we were all having so much fun with this!
Waters v. Ricketts (formerly Waters v. Heineman)
Case #: 15-1452 (8th Circuit); 8:13-cv-00215 (Federal District Court)
Court Level: 8th Circuit Court of Appeals
Date Filed: 17 November 2014
Date of Appeal: 3 March 2015
- 17 November 2014, and Nebraska has a federal marriage case! Woot! The ACLU filed suit in federal court; the case is Waters v. Heineman. ACLU Press Release
- 2 December 2014, the plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint. The only difference in the new complaint appears to be the inclusion of two new defendants: Kerry Winterer (CEO, Department of Health and Human Services) and Dan Nolte (Lancaster County Clerk).
- 2 December 2014, the plaintiffs filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction.
- 12 December 2014, a hearing was set on the plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction. Docket Entry: "TEXT ORDER Setting Hearing on MOTION for Preliminary Injunction. A Motion Hearing is set for 1/29/2015 at 09:00 AM in Courtroom 3, Roman L. Hruska Federal Courthouse, 111 South 18th Plaza, Omaha, NE before Senior Judge Joseph F. Bataillon. Ordered by Senior Judge Joseph F. Bataillon."
- 15 December 2014, a Nebraska state prison inmate and his transgender fiancée, Harold Wilson and Gracy Sedlak, filed a Motion to Intervene, join, this marriage lawsuit. This couple has been (unsuccessfully) pursuing marriage claims in federal court for over two years.
- 17 December 2014, the State defendants filed a Motion to extend due date for response to preliminary injunction - from Jan 20 to Jan 22 - along with a brief in support of the motion. "The State of Nebraska will have a new Attorney General and new executive branch administration as of January 8, 2014. In view of the significance of the Constitutional issues involved in this case being raised at a time when the State Defendants will have a change in defense counsel, the new Attorney General and new administration should have the opportunity of preparing for and determining the State Defendants’ response to the Plaintiff’s preliminary injunction motion."
- 18 December 2014, Inmate, transgender fiancée seek to join same-sex marriage lawsuit - By Zach Pluhacek, Lincoln Journal Star
- 29 December 2014, the plaintiffs in this case filed a Motion in Opposition to Harold Wilson's and Gracy Sedlak's attempt to intervene, as well as a brief in support of their motion opposing intervention.
- 30 December 2014, ACLU doesn't want inmate, transgender fiancée to join same-sex marriage lawsuit - By Lori Pilger, JournalStar.com
- 5 January 2015, Harold Wilson and Gracy Sedlak filed their Reply in support of their motion to intervene.
- 7 January 2015, intervention was denied to Harold Wilson and Gracy Sedlak.
- 20 January 2015, the State defendants filed their answer to the amended complaint. (The amended complaint was filed on 2 December 2014, see the 2nd bullet above.)
- 21 January 2015, the State defendants asked the Court to "stay further proceedings in this litigation, including the preliminary injunction hearing scheduled for January 29, 2015" pending a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court. They also filed a brief in support of their motion.
- 22 January 2015, the state defendants filed their Opposition to a Preliminary Injunction, and their Evidence in Support of that brief.
- 23 January 2015, in a docket text order, Judge Bataillon cancelled next week's motion hearing: "TEXT ORDER - The Motion Hearing scheduled for 1/29/2015 is cancelled pending further order of the Court. Ordered by Senior Judge Joseph F. Bataillon. (TCL ) (Entered: 01/23/2015)"
- 23 January 2015, the plaintiffs filed their Opposition to putting case on hold: "[Plaintiffs] urgently need the protections of marriage now. Waiting for a decision from the Supreme Court, which will likely be issued at the end of June, would subject the Plaintiffs and their families to serious and irreparable harms."
- 26 January 2015, the State filed their Reply in support of putting this case on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court decides the issue.
- 27 January 2015, the State's motion to have the case put on hold pending an outcome on the marriage cases before the U.S. Supreme Court was denied. A hearing on the plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction was set for 19 February 2015 at 2:00pm.
- The plaintiffs filed their Reply in support of a Preliminary Injunction. The motion is now fully briefed and a hearing is set on the motion for February 19.
- 19 February 2015, the hearing was held and the judge ordered both parties to prepare briefs by 23 February 2015. No ruling today. "Shortly after Thursday afternoon's hearing at the Douglas County Courthouse began, Bataillon said he will issue ruling later, but he'll do it "expeditiously." No decision today on Nebraska's gay marriage ban - By Robynn Tysver, World-Herald
- 23 February 2015, the plaintiffs filed a Supplement to their Motion for Preliminary Injunction (supplement begins pdf page 4).
- 23 February 2015, the State defendants filed their opposition to the plaintiffs' new evidence in support of a preliminary injunction and filed a brief in support of their objections.
- 2 March 2015, Nebraska marriage ban struck down by Federal Judge Joseph Bataillon! Woot! Injunction effective Monday 9 March 2015 at 8:00am CT.
- 2 March 2015, the State immediately filed notice of an appeal to the ruling.
- 3 March 2015, the State filed a Motion for a Stay Pending Appeal.
- 5 March 2015, the plaintiffs filed their opposition to the state's motion for a stay pending appeal.
- 5 March 2015, the 8th Circuit granted the state's request for a stay pending appeal and set an expedited briefing schedule. The case will be set for oral argument in Omaha on 12 May 2015, along with cases from SD, AR, and MO.
- Appellants' Brief due 30 March 2015
- Appellees’ Brief due 20 April 2015
- Appellants’ Reply due 30 April 2015
- 8th Circuit Calendar for May 11-15, 2015: 8th Circuit marriage cases listed on page 3.
- 20 April 2015, the plaintiffs filed their brief.
- 29 April 2015, the Court, of its own accord, put the 8th Circuit oral arguments and all further proceedings on hold until SCOTUS rules in the marriage cases.
Nichols v. Nichols
Case #: A-13-841(District Court), 288 Neb. 399 (Nebraska Supreme Court)
Court Level: State Trial Court
Date Filed: 2012
Date of Appeal: December 2013
- A lesbian couple who married in Iowa in 2009 sought to divorce in Nebraska, meaning NE would first have to recognize their IA marriage.
- In August 2013, in turning down the request for a divorce because the relationship is not legally recognized in Nebraska, District Court Judge Stephanie Stacy wrote, “this case requires navigation through areas of Nebraska jurisprudence which presently are uncharted by Nebraska's appellate courts.
- December 2013, the couple appealed to the Nebraska Supreme Court.
- 27 March 2014, the ACLU filed an Amicus Brief.
- 27 May 2014, argument was heard.
- 28 May 2014, the NE Supreme Court posted it’s synopsis of the argument.
- 13 June 2014, the Nebraska Supreme Court dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction because it was made on a conditional order rather than a final judgment. The case was remanded back to trial court.
Lawsuits - Resolved
Ballot Initiatives - Passed
- A poll run 16-17 December 2014, by the Omaha World-Herald, showed that statewide Nebraskans support legalizing same-sex marriage by 34%. News Source
- In October 2012 a poll by the Omaha World-Herald showed that 54% of those polled supported some form of legal recognition for same-sex couples, with 32% saying they supported marriage and an additional 22% saying they supported civil unions.
- A 30 September-2 October 2011 Public Policy Polling survey found that 36% of Nebraska voters thought same-sex marriage should be legal, while 54% thought it should be illegal and 10% were not sure. A separate question on the same survey found that 64% of Nebraska voters supported the legal recognition of same-sex couples, with 30% supporting same-sex marriage, 34% supporting civil unions, but not marriage, 34% favoring no legal recognition and 2% not sure. Poll Details