Marriage Equality USA

Stay Informed

Lawsuits - Resolved

Lawson v. Kelly

Case #: 14-3779 (8th Circuit); 4:2014cv00622 (Federal District Court);1416-CV15024 (state court)
Court Level: 8th Circuit Court of Appeals - On Hold
Date Filed: 24 June 2014
Date of Ruling: 1 July 2015


  • 24 June 2014, a suit filed by the ACLU on behalf of two same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses.
  • The lawsuit contends Missouri's constitutional provision limiting marriage to one man and one woman violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the U.S. Constitution.
  • Assigned to Judge Edith Messina in Kansas City, Missouri.
  • 30 June 2014, Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders said he won't spend taxpayer money to defend the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriages.
  • 15 July 2014, moved to the Missouri Western District Court (Federal Court).
  • 29 August 2014, the state filed their opposition to the plaintiffs' motion to remand the case back to state court. 
  • 15 September 2014, the plaintiffs filed a Motion for Permanent Injunction (summary judgement). 
  • 9 October 2014, the plaintiffs filed a Motion to file surreply (with proposed surreply attached). 
  • 10 October 2014, the judge clarified the Missouri Family Policy Council's (lack of) status in the case and granted the plaintiffs motion to file a surreply.
  • 21 October 2014, the state filed their Opposition to summary judgment.
  • 22 October 2014, the plaintiffs filed their Reply in support of summary judgment.
  • 22 October 2014, the plaintiffs withdrew their request for oral argument and request for ruling on the written submissions (granted 29 October 2014). NOTE: The request to withdraw the oral argument request has a brief summation of the case history and pending motions.
  • 7 November 2014, U.S. District Judge Ortrie D. Smith struck down the Missouri state marriage ban! The ruling is stayed until all appeals are concluded.
  • 7 November 2014, AG Chris Koster said he will appeal to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • 18 November 2014, the plaintiffs filed a Motion for attorney's fees and expenses and a memo in support of the motion. A Bill of Costs was included.
  • 21 November 2014, the plaintiffs filed a Motion to Lift Stay. Defendant Robert Kelly, Director of Jackson County Dept. of Recorder of Deeds, didn't object and Intervenor State of Missouri took no position.
  • 5 December 2014, Defendant-Intervenor State of Missouri filed a notice of appeal to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • 5 December 2014, the State of Missouri filed their Opposition to motion for attorneys' fees and expenses.
  • 8 December 2014, the plaintiffs filed their Reply in support of fees and expenses.
  • 8 December 2014, U.S. District Senior Judge Ortrie D. Smith awarded the plaintiffs approximately $32K in attorney fees and costs.
  • 9 December 2014, plaintiffs filed notice of cross-appeal as to Count II, equal protection based on sexual orientation. As a reminder, the decision on this part of the claim, based on 8th Circuit precedent Citizens for Equal Protection v. Bruning: "However, there is one aspect of Bruning that relates to the issues in this case. As noted above, Bruning holds that sexual orientation is not a suspect class and that classifications based on sexual orientation are not subject to heightened review of any kind. This directly impacts Count II, and requires the Court to uphold section 451.022 and Article I, section 33 if they are rationally related to a legitimate governmental interest, keeping in mind that such provisions enjoy a strong presumption of validity. In applying this standard, the Bruning court clearly expressed its belief that laws prohibiting same-sex marriage would pass rational basis review. 455 F.3d at 867-68. On this basis, the Court grants the State judgment on the pleadings with respect to Count II."
  • 10 December 2014, the plaintiffs filed a motion to vacate the stay or, in the alternate, expedite the appeal.
  • 10 December 2014, in the notice to attorneys on docketing the appeal, the Court indicates responses to the motion are due in 14 days. 
  • 20 December 2014, the plaintiffs submitted a letter to the 8th Circuit informing the Court of the Supreme Court order denying the Florida stay (Brenner/Grimsley) as it relates to their request to lift the stay in Missouri.
  • 24 December 2014, Missouri filed its Response to motion to lift stay and/or expedite appeal. While the state concludes the response with a request that the Court deny the motion, all of the arguments are in opposition to an expedited schedule; there is no discussion at all as to lifting the stay.
  • 9 January 2015, the ACLU filed a letter to the 8th Circuit as to Plaintiffs' pending motion. "In light of the Supreme Court’s inaction on the pending petitions for writs of certiorari, Appellees/Cross-Appellants respectfully request a prompt ruling on their motion to vacate stay or, in the alternate, expedite appeal."
    "[W]hile the motion to expedite appeal has been considered, Jernigan v. McDaniel, No. 15-1022, a similar case arising out of Arkansas, has already received a briefing schedule in this Court. Whether or not the Supreme Court ultimately grants certiorari in another case, there is no equitable reason to hold the current case in perpetual limbo."
  • 21 January 2015, the State of Missouri moved to Stay all proceedings, including briefing, until "30 days following resolution of the identical issues before the United States Supreme Court."
  • 21 January 2015, the plaintiffs filed their Response to the motion to stay -  they oppose staying the case unless the November 7th stay of the district court's 7 November 2014 judgment is lifted.
  • 22 January 2015, the Court denied the plaintiffs' request to lift the stay of the district court judgment, and also denied the state's request to put the appeal on hold. The court set the briefing schedule with the Opening brief due 17 February 2015, and briefing to be complete by early April 2015.
  • 3 February 2015, In a docket text order, the 8th Circuit:
    - Granted the motion to expedite the South Dakota appeal and set a briefing schedule
    - Indicated its intention to set oral arguments in RosenbrahnJernigan, and Lawson for the week of 11-15 May 2015.
    "CLERK ORDER: [4240177-2] [4240177-3] [4240658] [15-1186] The parties' joint motion to expedite this appeal is granted. The parties shall observe the briefing schedule set forth at paragraph 11 of the motion: Appellant's brief, addendum, and appendix due February 27, 2015; Appellees' brief and addendum due March 19, 2015; Appellant's reply brief due April 2, 2015. It is the court's intention to set the three same-sex marriage cases (No. 14-3779 Lawson v. State of Missouri; No. 15-1022 Jernigan v. McDaniel; and No. 15-1186 Rosenbrahn v. Daugaard) for oral argument during the week of May 11-15, 2015 in Omaha, NE. The parties will be advised of the date and time of the arguments when the May calendar is established."
  • 9 February 2015, the plaintiffs filed a second motion to lift the stay, citing the U.S. Supreme Court's order today denying the stay in Alabama.
  • 18 February 2015, the State filed its Opening Brief with the 8th Circuit.
  • 19 March 2015, the Court denied the plaintiffs' motion to lift the stay. "Consistent with the status of the other cases set for argument on May 12, 2015, the second motion to vacate stay is denied."
  • 23 March 2015, the plaintiffs' filed their second brief in the appeal/cross-appeal briefing schedule and is a combined (1) response brief in the state's appeal, and (2) opening brief in the plaintiffs' cross-appeal on the claim they lost in district court (equal protection based on sexual orientation).
  • 8th Circuit Calendar for May 11-15, 2015: 8th Circuit marriage cases listed on page 3.
  • 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.
  • 1 July 2015, the 8th Circuit dismissed the appeals, per parties' request, and issued Judgment and Mandate.
  • 2 July 2015, the district court lifted its stay, EFFECTIVE 5pm local time today.
  • 15 July 2015, the plaintiffs filed a Motion for Attorney Fees on Appeal.
  • 24 July 2015, the Court issued an Order Granting Attorney Fees in the amount of $27,883.50.
Kelly Glossip v. MO Highway Patrol

Case #: SC92583
Date Filed: 2 December 2010
Ruling Date: 29 October 2013


  • Missouri State Trooper Dennis Engelhard died in the line of duty on Christmas Day 2009. The Missouri Department of Transportation and Highway Patrol Employees’ Retirement System (MPERS) provides an annuity payment to surviving spouses, but specifically excludes the partners of lesbian and gay officers from this benefit.
  • The ACLU filed suit in the Missouri Circuit Court of Cole County on behalf of Glossip to challenge MPERS’ denial of survivor benefits.
  • 12 April 2012, the trial court grants MPERS’ motion to dismiss the suit.
  • 12 April 2012, the ACLU filed an appeal to the Supreme Court of Missouri.
  • 29 October 2013, the Supreme Court en banc ruled against Mr. Glossip, issuing an opinion affirming the lower court’s ruling because Glossip and Engelhard were a same-sex couple and therefore not married.

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.