Victory!

The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Nebraska and the law firm of Koenig | Dunne have filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of seven couples who seek state recognition of their marriages or who seek the freedom to marry in Nebraska.

The plaintiffs include Susan and Sally Waters of Omaha who have been together for 17 years. In January 2013, Sally was diagnosed with breast cancer and her future is uncertain. Meet all seven couples fighting for the freedom to marry.

The plaintiffs allege that the state’s constitutional marriage ban unlawfully discriminates against lesbians, gay men, and their children. Due to Sally Waters’ medical condition, the attorneys also sought emergency relief.

On March 3rd, 2015, the District Court of Nebraska granted Plaintiffs' injunction and ruling that the ban on marriage for same-sex couples was unconstitutional. The decision was stayed pending appeals.

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges that state bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional. Same-sex couples now have the freedom to marry in all 50 states. VICTORY!

 

Date filed

Monday, November 17, 2014

Court

United States District Court for the State of Nebraska

Case number

15-1452
Attorney(s):
Amy Miller (ACLU of NE), Leslie Cooper (ACLU), Joshua Block (ACLU)
Pro Bono Law Firm(s):
Susan Koenig and Angela Dunne of Koenig | Dunne Law Firm

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Date

Tuesday, November 11, 2014 - 10:30am

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Sally and Susan Waters with their three daughters.

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The ACLU of Nebraska and the Media Freedom Information Access Clinic at Yale Law School filed a lawsuit on behalf of journalist Emily Bazelon and web-based magazine Slate, alleging that the Lincoln Police Department failed to comply with Nebraska’s Public Records Act.

The lawsuit stemmed from a police report filed in June of 2004 by an alleged rape victim. To the victim’s knowledge, no thorough investigation was conducted due to the prominence in Nebraska athletics of the alleged perpetrator. Nearly ten years later, the rape case was marked open even though charges have never been filed. A letter from the victim to LPD from Nov. 2013 requested that the case be marked closed and the records released to Emily. 

The victim contacted Emily due to a series of articles written by Emily on the subject of rape by college players. In a Dec. 2013 article, Emily expressed concerns about the lack of prosecutions in such cases. 

In June, 2014, the Lincoln Police Department granted the alleged victim access to the records and the lawsuit was settled.

 

Date filed

Monday, December 23, 2013

Court

Lancaster County District Court

Case number

D02CI130004661
Attorney(s):
Amy Miller (ACLU of NE)
Pro Bono Law Firm(s):
David A. Schulz and Jonathan M. Manes of Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic at Yale Law School

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Date

Monday, December 23, 2013 - 10:15am

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ACLU Action

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The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Nebraska, and the law firm Sullivan & Cromwell LLP have filed a lawsuit in state court on behalf of three couples seeking to strike down a state policy that bans gay and lesbian individuals and couples from serving as foster parents.

The state's policy, dating from 1995, prohibits the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services from placing foster children with "persons who identify themselves as homosexuals" or persons who are "unrelated, unmarried adults residing together." The ban also prohibits these individuals from adopting children from the foster care system, since individuals must first be licensed as foster parents before they can adopt children from state custody. 

There are over 3800 children in the foster care system in Nebraska, too many of whom have been through multiple failed placements, long stays in emergency shelters, and long waits to be adopted. 

Every major children's health and welfare professional group – including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association and the Child Welfare League of America – recognizes that over 25 years of scientific research shows that parents' sexual orientation has no relevance to parenting ability or the well-being of children.

In August 2015, the judge ordered the old memo be stricken and that plaintiffs and other qualified applicants be permitted to be licensed as foster parents without any regard for their sexual orientation. The State of Nebraska has appealed and the case will be heard by the Nebraska Supreme Court on January 5, 2017.

 

Date filed

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Court

Nebraska Supreme Court

Case number

D02CI130003157
Attorney(s):
Amy Miller (ACLU of NE), Leslie Cooper (ACLU), Chase Strangio (ACLU)
Pro Bono Law Firm(s):
Garrard Beeney of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

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Date

Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - 10:15am

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LGBT Marriage Equality

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