Marriage Equality USA

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Lawsuits - Resolved

Natasha Jackson, et al., v. Governor Neil Abercrombie, et al.

Case #: 12-16995
Court Level: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
Date Filed: 7 December 2011
Date of Appeal: 2013


  • A same-sex couple filed suit in U.S. district court to obtain marriage licenses in Hawai’i.
  • 27 January 2012, an amended complaint was filed, adding plaintiff Gary Bradley, one partner in a same-sex civil union, who was ultimately seeking marriage but thought it futile to apply.
  • The plaintiffs argued that the Marriage Laws violated the Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution as applied to them.
  • 8 August 2012, a federal judge in Honolulu ruled against the couples seeking to marry. The plaintiffs had argued that Hawai'i’s 2011 civil union law is unconstitutional because it provides full state benefits but prevents couples from receiving any federal benefits.
  • In 2013, the plaintiffs appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • 25 October 2013, BALIF Coaltion, including MEUSA, submitted Amicus Brief
  • The Hawai'i State Legislature held a special session beginning 28 October 28 2013, and passed the Hawai'i Marriage Equality Act legalizing same-sex marriage. The governor signed the Act and it went into effect on 2 December 2013. 
  • NOTE: Many people are confused regarding why this case is continuing. When the Hawai'i Marriage Equality Act of 2013 (under LEGISLATION ENACTED above) became effective, it rendered the plaintiffs' complaint moot. The plaintiffs are now legally married. However, the case has been continued by the intervenors in the case, the Hawai'i Family Forum (HFF), opponents of marriage equality. HFF wants the case to be continued based on their belief that the Hawai'i Marriage Equality Act may be overturned. They would like this case not to be ruled as moot and vacated until McDermott v. Abercrombie (above) is completely resolved.
  • 19 March 2014, the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals determined the case "not does not appear suitable for summary disposition at this time."
  • On 6 May 2014 the director of Hawai'i's Dept. of Health noticed the court that she would not be filing a response brief.
  • On 27 May 2014 the Hawai'i Family Forum filed an answering brief.
  • Oral argument in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals was set for 8 September 2014, beginning at 1:00pm PT, in Courtroom One of the James R. Browning U.S. Courthouse, 95 7th St., San Francisco, CA .
  • 20 August 2014, the 9th Circuit informed the parties in this case that they should be prepared to discuss the standing issue re: the intervenors (Coalition for the Protection of Marriage from ID) at oral arguments on September 8th. 
  • 8 September 2014, oral argument was heard by the 9th Circuit. Of interest was the fact that there were a couple of pointed questions and comments from the Court regarding this case possibly being "frivolous." 
  • 10 October 2014, the 9th Circuit directed the Hawaii trial court to vacate this case and to dismiss as moot the ruling in which plaintiffs lost. Finally!

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