Nebraska Federal Court Strikes Down Same-Sex Marriage Ban

This morning, March 2, 2015, federal Judge Joseph Batallion ruled to

stop enforcement of Nebraska’s same-sex marriage ban in the case of

Waters v. Ricketts, No. 8:14CV356, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER (D. Neb. March 2,

2015). The ruling is an “injunction.” Beginning March 9, Nebraska officials

cannot enforce Nebraska Constitution, article I, § 29, which says:

Only marriage between a man and a woman shall be valid or

recognized in Nebraska. The uniting of two persons of the same

sex in a civil union, domestic partnership, or other similar same-

sex relationship shall not be valid or recognized in Nebraska.

This means that same-sex couples would be allowed to marry and

receive the same rights as other married couples in Nebraska. The Supreme

Court’s Windsor decision in 2013 granted federal rights to same-sex married

couples. This decision would extend state rights, as well.

Judge Batallion granted the injunction because he “is persuaded that

the Supreme Court will ultimately endorse…the results obtained

in…challenges to same sex marriage bans.” The decision states that the ban

serves as discrimination based on “gender,” calling the ban “an unabashedly

gender-specific infringement on the equal rights of [Nebraska] citizens.”

However, the State of Nebraska has appealed, meaning the decision is

suspended pending appeal. We likely will not have final answers for many

more months, if not years. However, this is substantial ruling which may

impact many issues facing schools. If you have questions, we recommend

that you consult with your school district’s attorney or call Karen, Steve or