Marriage Equality USA

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State of Nebraska
All in this Region

Current Status


  • 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.

Legislation - Pending


Legislation - Enacted


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


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


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 - Pending


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