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Obergefell v Hodges: Marriage Equality at the Supreme Court



June 26, 2015: Victory! In a blockbuster legal and cultural moment for the country, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples in the United States, no matter where they live, have the same legal right to marry as different-sex couples. Read More

GLAD Civil Rights Project Director Mary L. Bonauto argued before the U.S. Supreme Court April 28, 2015 on behalf of same-sex couples who are challenged their states’ marriage bans. She stood on behalf of petitioners April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse in the Michigan case DeBoer v. Snyder and Timothy Love, Lawrence Ysunza, Maurice Blanchard and Dominique James in the Kentucky case Love v. Beshear (joined with Bourke v. Beshear) and same-sex couples across the country who were excluded from marriage.

Douglas Hallward-Driemeier, partner at Ropes & Gray LLP, represented petitioners seeking recognition of their marriages. Read more.

The Supreme Court ruling came in consideration of several combined marriage cases.

Kentucky petitioners Timothy Love and Lawrence Ysunza and Maurice Blanchard and Dominique James were represented by the ACLU and the Stanford Law School Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, Clay Daniel Walton & Adams, and Fauver Law Office. Visit the ACLU’s website for more information, and to read the plaintiffs’ stories.

GLAD was co-counsel in  DeBoer v. Snyder, along with Michigan attorneys Carole Stanyar, Dana Nessel of Nessel & Kessel Law, Kenneth Mogill of Mogill, Posner & Cohen and Wayne State University Law Professor Robert Sedler. More information about April and Jayne and their challenge to Michigan’s marriage ban is below and at

Obergefell v. Hodges and Henry v. Hodges were brought by Lambda Legal and private counsel in Ohio; and Tanco v. Haslam, were brought by NCLR and private counsel in Tennessee.

The DeBoer Rowse Family
April and Jayne with three of their children
About DeBoer v. Snyder

On November 14 attorneys for Michigan couple April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse filed a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their case, seeking to overturn the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision upholding bans on marriage for same-sex couples in Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee.

April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse are both nurses and are the mothers of four children they fostered and adopted and are fostering a fifth. They are devoted to each other, to their kids, and they should be able to marry.

U.S. District Court Judge Bernard Friedman ruled in March 2014 that Michigan’s laws prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying are unconstitutional, following a two-week trial in which expert testimony was heard from the nation’s leading psychologists, sociologists, child welfare professionals, and historians.
In a departure from nearly 50 pro-marriage decisions across the U.S. since June 2013, a three-member panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals’ issued its opinion on November 6, 2014 reversing Judge Friedman’s ruling, along with similar rulings from Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.