Wave of appellate arguments continues in August at 6th Circuit and 7th Circuit
July 28, 2014
Next month, same-sex couples in six different states will get their day in court at the federal appellate level when the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 6th Circuit and the 7th Circuit hold oral arguments in a wide range of legal cases seeking the freedom to marry or respect for marriages between same-sex couples legally performed in other states.
The arguments at the 6th Circuit will take place on August 6, and on Friday, the 7th Circuit announced its rescheduled date: August 26. A 3-judge panel from both circuit courts will hear arguments in the 10 different marriage cases. Here is a breakdown of each case that will be heard at the appellate level this month:
In the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, on August 6 (Keep up on all of the news for the 6th Circuit marriage cases at www.6thCircuit.org):
- Kentucky's Bourke v. Beshear & Love v. Beshear: On Feb. 12, a federal judge ruled in this case, brought by private firms Clay Daniel Walton & Adams and Fauver Law Office, that Kentucky must respect the marriages of same-sex couples legally performed in other states. On July 1, the same judge ruled in a related case, Love v. Beshear, brought by two unmarried same-sex couples who intervened in the case. In that decision, the judge struck down the Kentucky marriage ban altogether. Notably, the Kentucky Attorney General, Jack Conway, announced that he would not appeal the ruling - but an appeal was still filed by KY Gov. Beshear.
- Michigan's DeBoer v. Snyder: On March 21, a federal judge ruled in favor of the freedom to marry in this case, striking down the marriage ban for same-sex couples. For the next 24 hours, more than 300 same-sex couples across the state received marriage licenses in Michigan until the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay in the decision. The state is now appealing the ruling.
- Ohio's Obergefell v. Wymyslo & Henry v. Himes: On Dec. 23, a federal judge ruled in Obergefell v. Wymyslo that the state of Ohio must respect the marriages of same-sex couples legally performed in other states for the purpose of listing surviving spouses on death certificates. In April 2014, in a separate federal case, Henry v. Himes, the same judge ruled that Ohio must respect all married same-sex couples who wed in other states for all state purposes. Both cases were brought by private firms Gerhardstein & Branch Co., LPA and Newman & Meeks Co., LPA, with the ACLU joining Obergefell and Lambda Legal joining Henry.
- Tennessee's Tanco v. Haslam: On March 14, a federal judge ordered state officials to respect the marriages of three same-sex couples whose lawsuit, Tanco v. Haslam, challenges the state’s marriage ban. The couples are represented by the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
In the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, on August 26:
- Indiana's Baskin v. Bogan, Midori Fujii v. Commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Revenue, and Lee v. Abbott: On June 25, a federal judge ruled in favor of the freedom to marry in these three consolidated cases, striking down the marriage ban for same-sex couples. For the next several days, hundreds of same-sex couples across the state received marriage licenses from Indiana until the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay in the decision. A stay is not in effect in a prior ruling granting emergency legal respect for the marriage of two Hoosier women, one who is facing a terminal illness.
- Wisconsin's Wolf v. Walker: On June 6, a federal judge ruled in favor of the freedom to marry in Wisconsin, striking down the marriage ban for same-sex couples. Over the next several days, as the judge mulled whether to officially issue a stay in the case's final order, hundreds of same-sex couples received marriage licenses from Wisconsin.
Previously this year, the freedom to marry was reviewed by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in cases out of Utah, Oklahoma, and Virginia. In the Utah and Oklahoma cases, the 10th Circuit affirmed the lower court ruling. A decision is still pending in Virginia.
As these cases are considered at the appellate level, decisions from federal appellate courts will multiply. We hope to win them all, expect to win many, and may even lose some. But our eyes, as always, are on the prize, and we are focused on making sure that elected officials, judges, and the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court all know that America is ready for the freedom to marry, and for them to do the right thing and bring the country to national resolution.
The national strategy has always been to win marriage nationwide in the Supreme Court, and the key to encouraging the Court to finish the job has always been to work the tracks of the Roadmap to Victory: growing public support, winning marriage in more states, and ending federal discrimination.
"Freedom to Marry’s aim is not just to get to the Supreme Court, but to win in the Supreme Court," Evan Wolfson said earlier this year. "As we reach the federal appellate courts with momentum and majority support in every region of the country, it’s clear that America is ready for the freedom to marry."
Over the past year, marriage supporters have celebrated as 28 consecutive rulings have been issued in favor of the freedom to marry, with no losses. Read about all 28 of those rulings HERE.
And follow the more than 75 marriage cases working their way through the courts systems in 32 different states/territories with Freedom to Marry's Litigation resource.