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The Southern Poverty Law Center has filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, challenging Alabama's refusal to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

The plaintiff, Paul Hard, was legally married in a Massachusetts ceremony to David Fancher. Paul and David were residing in Alabama when David was killed in a car wreck. Then:

When Hard arrived at the hospital, a receptionist refused to give him any information about his husband, David Fancher. He was told he was not a member of Fancher’s “family” and that gay marriages weren’t recognized in Alabama.

After a half hour of inquiries, a hospital orderly finally told Hard, “Well, he’s dead.”...

A funeral home director cited Alabama law in insisting that the death certificate indicate Fancher was never married – even though Fancher and Hard were legally married in Massachusetts, but lived in Alabama...

The suit also demands that Hard receive his rightful share of the proceeds from a pending wrongful death suit, and that Alabama issue a corrected death certificate for Fancher that lists Hard as the surviving spouse...

Hard is now suing the trucking companies involved in the wreck. Fancher had collided in the dark with a large truck strewn across the northbound lanes of Interstate 65 north of Montgomery.

In Alabama, however, proceeds from a wrongful death case must be distributed pursuant to the laws of intestate succession (even though Fancher died with a will and Hard was the sole beneficiary). And because Alabama refuses to recognize lawful same-sex marriages entered out of state, current state law means that Hard cannot be deemed the surviving spouse and cannot share in the proceeds of the lawsuit.

Here's wishing all success to Paul Hard and his counsel at Southern Poverty Law Center in fighting the good fight in Alabama.


Originally posted to HeyMikey on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 09:21 AM PST.

Also republished by Kossacks for Marriage Equality.


Are people, regardless of sexual orientation, equally human?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (12+ / 0-)

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 09:21:41 AM PST

  •  Harrowing story (6+ / 0-)

    Yet this is precisely the kind of case that will convince the Supreme Court that, at the very least, marriages must be portable. Thanks for the diary, and of COURSE all success to Paul Hard and the SPLC.

  •  This is why bigots will always fail... (5+ / 0-)

    They never think in the long term (a trait that seems to be fairly common on the right). Nothing is ever black and white. Especially marriage law. This was bound to happen sooner or later.

  •  Any info on the judge? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The case is currently assigned to the Chief Judge, William Keith Watkins, who was appointed by W, so I think we can guess how he'd rule.

    But it's currently before a magistrate, Susan Russ Walker.

    (Presumably, it's going to end up before Watkins on any substantive ruling).

    •  Don't panic about the judge. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bythesea, Darmok, Cassandra Waites
      in the eight months since Windsor, 18 court decisions have addressed an issue of equality based on sexual orientation. And in those 18 cases, equality has won every single time. In other words, not a single court has agreed with Chief Justice Roberts that Windsor is merely about state versus federal power. Instead, each has used Windsor exactly as Justice Scalia “warned”—as a powerful precedent for equality.

      This hasn’t all been about marriage. Twelve decisions have addressed a substantive aspect of marriage equality since Windsor, and equality has won in all 12—with the Virginia decision now joining decisions from Kentucky, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and West Virginia, and two decisions each in Illinois, New Jersey, and Ohio. But six other cases since Windsor have addressed different aspects of discrimination based on sexual orientation, such as discrimination on juries and employment benefits, and the side of equality has won in all six of those cases as well.

      The tally is even starker when you look at the number of judges who have considered the issue.  Since Windsor, in these 18 decisions, 32 different judges have considered whether Windsor is merely about the relationship between the state and federal governments or whether it is about equality. And all 32 of them have found for equality. In other words, 32 accomplished, intelligent lawyers, appointed by Democrats and Republicans, whose job it is to read precedent, have ruled for equality. Not a single one has disagreed.

      "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

      by HeyMikey on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 10:31:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for this diary. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HeyMikey, tuesdayschilde

    I live in Birmingham and saw the news on yesterday. Posted a brief comment with link  because I'm too chicken to do diaries.

    Just because you're not a drummer doesn't mean that you don't have to keep time. -- T. Monk

    by susanala on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 05:03:55 PM PST

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