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Lawsuits - Resolved

Obergefell v. Hodges (formerly Obergefell v. Himes and Obergefell v. Wymyslo)

Case #: 14-556 (SCOTUS);14-3057 (6th Circuit)
Court Level: 6th Circuit Court of Appeals
Date Filed: 19 July 2013
Date of Appeal: 16 January 2014
Date of Ruling: 26 June 2015


  • A gay male couple filed a federal lawsuit to have their MD marriage recognized in OH (despite OH’s 2004 constitutional ban on same-gender marriage) before John, who was fatally ill, passed away.
  • 22 July 2013, the federal court ordered OH to recognize their marriage on any Death Certificate via a temporary injunction while the case proceeds.
  • 23 July, Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) announced that he would defend the OH ban.
  • 13 August 2013, a federal judge extended the previous temporary restraining order through 31 December 2013.
  • 3 September 2013, the court allowed David Michener to join the lawsuit as an additional plaintiff so that he could be listed as spouse on the Death Certificate of his spouse, William Ives, who died unexpectedly on 22 July 2013.
  • 23 December 2013, permanent injunction granted requiring Ohio to recognize marriages validly entered by same-sex couples in other states on death certificates of two men who married same-sex partners.
  • 16 January 2014, OH Attorney General Mike DeWine appealed the district court ruling to the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
  • 20 May 2014, consolidated with Henry v. Himes (listed immediately above) for the purpose of argument.
  • Oral argument set for 6 August 2014.
  • 6 August 2014, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral argument. Access audio of argument. 
  • 6 October 2014, in light of the SCOTUS orders (pgs 39 & 40) issued on October 6th regarding the 7 marriage cases that had petitioned the high court for review, the plaintiffs filed a Notice of Supplemental Authority stating that: "The Supreme Court’s decision not to hear these cases means that according to binding precedent in the Fourth, Seventh, and Tenth Circuits, bans on allowing same-sex couples to marry and bans on recognizing their marriages from other jurisdictions will not stand, supporting the overall arguments in the Obergefell and Henry plaintiffs’ briefs that discriminating against same-sex couples with regard to marriage laws violates the Fourteenth Amendment."
  • On 6 November 2014, the 6th Circuit ruled reversing the lower court's ruling and upholding the state ban on marriage equality.
  • 7 November 2014, Analysis: Paths to same-sex marriage review - By Lyle Denniston, SCOTUSblog
  • 7 November 2014, couples from the Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee marriage cases all will be seeking SCOTUS review.
  • 14 November 2014, Henry v. Hodges and Obergefell v. Hodges Plaintiffs filed a Joint Petition for Writ of Certiorari asking SCOTUS to reverse 6th Circuit decision.
  • 12 December 2014, the State filed its Response to the petition for cert. Per Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog: "Taking the same position as state officials have in other same-sex marriage cases, government officials in Ohio on Friday urged the Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of state laws against same-sex marriage. 'The country deserves a nationwide answer — one way or the other,' the state’s brief said. The state defended its ban even while asking the Court to review it."
  • 22 December 2014, the plaintiffs filed their Reply with SCOTUS.
  • 23 December 2014, all of the the 6th Circuit marriage cases - Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee - are scheduled for the 9 January 2014 Supreme Court Conference. Also on the list for this conference (previously reported) is the petition for cert before judgment in the Louisiana case. Ohio: 
  • 9 January 2015, per Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog, the Court did not grant cert to (take for review) any new cases today. (See the 2nd through 5th cases listed in this article.) The orders that were issued today were routine. New orders will be released on Monday, 12 January 2015.
  • 12 January 2015, SCOTUS issued orders denying cert to Louisiana's Robicheaux before the 5th Circuit rules, but took no action on the cases from the 6th Circuit. Orders list. UPDATE: The Court has officially listed all four 6th Circuit marriage cases for consideration at their conference on Friday, 16 January 2015.
  • 16 January 2015, SCOTUS has spoken! All four 6th Circuit marriage cases are granted including this one. Briefing will be completed April 17, which means oral argument most likely the last week in April.
  • 27 February 2015, plaintiffs' brief submitted to SCOTUS.
  • 17 March 2015, Petitioners (plaintiffs) in the Supreme Court marriage cases made a formal request for divided argument time.
  • 22 March 2015, Two Years After His Husband’s Death, Jim Obergefell Is Still Fighting For The Right Be Married - By Chris Geidner, BuzzFeed NEWS
  • 27 March 2015, Ohio's brief submitted to SCOTUS.
  • 28 April 2015, transcript and audio from SCOTUS arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges Question 2
  • 28 April 2015, Transcript and audio from SCOTUS arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges Question 1
  • 26 June 2015, WE WON! LOVE WON! Majority opinion by Justice Kennedy, 6-3. Per @SCOTUSblog, the Court's opinion relies on the dual rationales of fundamental rights AND equal protection and seems to go out of its way not to state a standard of scrutiny.  "...the majority opinion rejects the claim that marriage is about procreation, even while saying that protecting children of same-sex couples supports the Court's ruling: "This is not to say that the right to marry is less meaningful for those who do not or cannot have children. An ability, desire, or promise to procreate is not and has not been a prerequisite for a valid marriage in any State." READ THE RULING
  • 26 June 2015, live as of 2:00pm ET on June 26: Marriage Equality Facts
  • 28 July 2015, SCOTUS issued Judgment in the 6th Circuit cases (Obergefell).
    "THESE CAUSES came on to be heard on the transcript of the record from the above court and were argued by counsel.
    "ON CONSIDERATION WHEREOF, it is ordered and adjudged by Court that the judgment of the above court are reversed with costs."
  • Details of this case at SCOTUS are posted as Obergefell on our National page under LAWSUITS-RESOLVED.

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