Case: Wilson v. Ake

8:04-cv-01680 | U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida

Filed Date: July 20, 2004

Closed Date: 2005

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On July 20, 2004, a lesbian couple living in Florida filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida against the U.S. Attorney General and Clerk for the Circuit and Country Courts of Hillsborough County, Florida, challenging the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Florida's implementation of the statute. Plaintiffs brought their lawsuit after a clerk in the Circuit Court's Office in Hillsborough Country refused to recognize their Massachusetts marriage lice…

On July 20, 2004, a lesbian couple living in Florida filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida against the U.S. Attorney General and Clerk for the Circuit and Country Courts of Hillsborough County, Florida, challenging the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Florida's implementation of the statute. Plaintiffs brought their lawsuit after a clerk in the Circuit Court's Office in Hillsborough Country refused to recognize their Massachusetts marriage license. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court to declare DOMA and the corresponding Florida statute unconstitutional and enjoin their enforcement. The plaintiffs alleged that the two statutes violate the Full Faith and Credit Clause, the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Privileges and Immunities Clause, and the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.

The plaintiffs asserted that Florida is required to recognize their valid Massachusetts marriage license because DOMA exceeds Congress' power under the Full Faith and Credit Clause. They also argued that twelve U.S. Supreme Court Cases, beginning with Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), and ending with Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003), demonstrate a recent trend by the Supreme Court to expand the fundamental liberty of personal autonomy in connection with one's intimate affairs and family relations. The plaintiffs urged the Court in the case at bar to expand on these cases and find that the right to enter into a same-sex marriage is protected by the Constitution.

On September 27, 2004, the U.S. filed a Motion to Dismiss, arguing that DOMA does not infringe on any of the plaintiffs' fundamental rights and is a legitimate exercise of the power granted to Congress by the Full Faith and Credit Clause. On January 19, 2005, Judge James S. Moody, Jr., granted the defendant's Motion to Dismiss. The Court rejected the plaintiff's interpretation of the Full Faith and Credit Clause, saying that Congress' actions are an appropriate exercise of its power to regulate conflicts between the laws of two different States, in this case, conflicts over the validity of same-sex marriage. Florida is not required to recognize or apply Massachusetts' same-sex marriage law because it clearly conflicts with Florida's legitimate public policy of opposing same-sex marriage.

The Court went on to say that it was bound the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Baker v. Nelson, 409 U.S. 810 (1972), who dismissed for want of a substantial federal question the appeal of Minnesota's Supreme Court ruling that the right to marry without regard to the sex of the parties is not a fundamental right of all persons (and thus a similar state statute to the one in the case at bar did not violate the Due Process Clause or Equal Protection Clause).

Regarding Due Process, the Court said the Supreme Court's decision in Lawrence only determined that a Texas statute prohibiting homosexual sodomy failed under the rational basis analysis, and in no way can be interpreted as creating a fundamental right to same-sex marriage. The Court also expressed its reservations about elevating rights to fundamental status, since to do so would remove policy decisions from the hands of the people and into the guardianship of unelected judges. Willams v. Pryor, 378 F.3d 1232, 1250. Therefore, the Court found that the right to marry a person of the same sex is not a fundamental right under the Constitution.

On the issue of Equal Protection, the Court stated that the Eleventh Circuit has held that homosexuality is not a suspect class that would require subjecting DOMA to strict scrutiny, Lofton v. Sec. of Dept. of Children and Family Servs., 358 F.3d 804, 818 (11th Cir. 2004), and that DOMA does not discriminate on the basis of sex because it treats women and men equally, In re Kandu, 315 B.R. 123, 143 (W.D. Wash. 2004), and therefore it must apply rational basis review. The Court held that encouraging the raising of children in homes consisting of a married mother and father is a legitimate state interest, See Lofton, 358 F.3d at 819-20, and DOMA is rationally related to this interest.

On March 7, 2005, the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the remainder of the case (involving the State of Florida) and the case was closed on March 8, 2005.

Summary Authors

Darren Miller (10/5/2012)

Claire Lally (2/22/2015)

People


Judge(s)

McCoun, Thomas B. III (Florida)

Moody, James S. Jr. (Florida)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Barrar, Robert I. Jr. (Florida)

Rubin, Ellis S. (Florida)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Glantz, David Jay (Florida)

Simpson, W. Scott (District of Columbia)

Stanley, Erik William (Virginia)

Judge(s)

McCoun, Thomas B. III (Florida)

Moody, James S. Jr. (Florida)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Barrar, Robert I. Jr. (Florida)

Rubin, Ellis S. (Florida)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Glantz, David Jay (Florida)

Simpson, W. Scott (District of Columbia)

Stanley, Erik William (Virginia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket

March 8, 2005 Docket
1

Complaint for Declaratory Judgment

July 20, 2004 Complaint
59

Order Granting Motion to Dismiss

354 F.Supp.2d 1298

Jan. 19, 2005 Order/Opinion

Resources

Title Description External URL

Taking Three Small Steps Forward in the Journey of Innovation and Diffusion Study

Suk Joon Hwang

The aim of this dissertation is to fill in the vacant spots in the innovation and diffusion study, which are meaningful but have not had much work done previously. Most policy diffusion studies have … Jan. 1, 2016 None

Docket

Last updated May 29, 2022, 3:25 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

COMPLAINT against Richard L. Ake, John Ashcroft ( Filing fee $ 150 receipt number T028316) filed by Paula Schoenwether, Nancy Wilson. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit)(eec ) (Entered: 07/21/2004)

July 20, 2004
2

Summons issued as to John Ashcroft. Consent(s) issued. (Attachments: # 1 U.S. Attorney summons)(eec ) (Entered: 07/21/2004)

July 20, 2004
3

Summons issued as to Richard L. Ake. Consent(s) issued. (Attachments: # 1 State Attorney summons)(eec ) (Entered: 07/21/2004)

July 20, 2004
4

NOTICE of existence of constitution question by Paula Schoenwether, Nancy Wilson (eec ) (Entered: 07/21/2004)

July 20, 2004
5

MOTION to intervene by Cody Taylor. (Attachments: # 1 Affidavit Affidavit of Chris Weiss# 2 Affidavit Affidavit of Cody Taylor# 3 Affidavit Affidavit of Teresa Knox# 4 Affidavit Affidavit of Charles Aleshire# 5 Affidavit Affidavit of Susan Aleshire# 6 Affidavit Affidavit of Hector Anduiza# 7 Affidavit Affidavit of Omar Vazquez# 8 Affidavit Affidavit of Henry Ketzle# 9 Affidavit Affidavit of Charles Birch)(Stanley, Erik) (Entered: 07/21/2004)

July 21, 2004
6

MOTION to intervene Memorandum in Support by Cody Taylor. (Stanley, Erik) "Wrong event, counsel notified to refile" Modified on 8/16/2004 (eec ). (Entered: 07/21/2004)

July 21, 2004
8

NOTICE of designation under Local Rule 3.05 − track 2 on 7/22/2004. (smb) (Entered: 07/22/2004)

July 22, 2004
9

MEMORANDUM in support re 5 Motion to intervene, filed by Cody Taylor. (Staver, Mathew) (Entered: 07/22/2004)

July 22, 2004
10

NOTICE of Appearance by David Jay Glantz on behalf of Richard L. Ake (Glantz, David) (Entered: 08/03/2004)

Aug. 3, 2004
11

NOTICE by Richard L. Ake of Similar Action (Glantz, David) (Entered: 08/03/2004)

Aug. 3, 2004
12

ANSWER to complaint by Richard L. Ake.(Glantz, David) (Entered: 08/04/2004)

Aug. 4, 2004
13

Amended ANSWER to complaint by Richard L. Ake.(Glantz, David) (Entered: 08/10/2004)

Aug. 10, 2004
14

REPLY to affirmative defenses by Nancy Wilson. (Rubin, Ellis) (Entered: 08/10/2004)

Aug. 10, 2004
15

ORDER denying 5 Motion to intervene. Signed by Judge James S. Moody Jr. on 8/12/2004. (len) (Entered: 08/12/2004)

Aug. 12, 2004
16

REPLY to affirmative defenses by Nancy Wilson. (Rubin, Ellis) (Entered: 08/12/2004)

Aug. 12, 2004
17

NOTICE of Appearance by W. Scott Simpson on behalf of John Ashcroft (eec ) (Entered: 08/18/2004)

Aug. 18, 2004
18

NOTICE OF APPEAL as to 15 Order on motion to intervene by Cody Taylor. Filing fee $ 255. (Attachments: # 1)(Staver, Mathew) Modified on 8/20/2004 (crs, ).(Filed under incorrect code. Counsel notified, Will refile) (Entered: 08/19/2004)

Aug. 19, 2004
19

NOTICE OF INTERLOCUTORY APPEAL as to 15 Order on motion to intervene by Cody Taylor. Filing fee $ 255. (Attachments: # 1)(Staver, Mathew) (Entered: 08/23/2004)

Aug. 23, 2004
20

RETURN of service executed on July 28, 2004 by Nancy Wilson as to Richard L. Ake. (Rubin, Ellis) (Entered: 08/23/2004)

Aug. 23, 2004
21

RETURN of service executed on July 28, 2004 by Nancy Wilson as to John Ashcroft. (Rubin, Ellis) (Entered: 08/23/2004)

Aug. 23, 2004
22

TRANSMITTAL of initial appeal package to USCA consisting of certified copies of notice of appeal, docket sheet, order/judgment being appealed, re: 19 Notice of interlocutory appeal. Transcript information form sent. (crs ) (Entered: 08/23/2004)

Aug. 23, 2004
24

USCA appeal fees received $ 255.00 receipt number T028912 re: 19 Notice of interlocutory appeal filed by Cody Taylor (crs ) (Entered: 08/26/2004)

Aug. 25, 2004
23

MOTION to strike demand for attorney fees by Richard L. Ake. (Glantz, David) (Entered: 08/26/2004)

Aug. 26, 2004
25

NOTICE of pendency of other actions re 1.04 (c) order of compliance to Local Rule by Nancy Wilson Related case(s): yes (Rubin, Ellis) "No Signature, Counsel notified−to refile" Modified on 8/31/2004 (eec ). (Entered: 08/30/2004)

Aug. 30, 2004
27

NOTICE of pendency of other actions re 1.04 (c) order of compliance to Local Rule by Nancy Wilson Related case(s): yes (Rubin, Ellis) (Entered: 09/01/2004)

Sept. 1, 2004
28

TRANSCRIPT information form filed by Cody Taylor re: 19 Notice of interlocutory appeal. USCA number: 04−14362−F. (No transcripts ordered) (crs ) (Entered: 09/09/2004)

Sept. 9, 2004
29

RESPONSE Plaintiffs' Answer to Defendant Ake's Request for Admissions by Nancy Wilson. (Rubin, Ellis) (Entered: 09/10/2004)

Sept. 10, 2004
31

MOTION to dismiss Complaint by John Ashcroft. (Simpson, W.) (Entered: 09/27/2004)

Sept. 27, 2004
32

MOTION for leave to file excess pages by John Ashcroft. (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support of Federal Defendant's Motion to Dismiss)(Simpson, W.) (Entered: 09/27/2004)

Sept. 27, 2004
33

MOTION to withdraw 23 MOTION to strike demand for attorney fees by Richard L. Ake. (Glantz, David) (Entered: 09/28/2004)

Sept. 28, 2004
34

NOTICE by Nancy Wilson Notice of Filing Response to Order to Show Cause (Rubin, Ellis) (Entered: 09/28/2004)

Sept. 28, 2004
35

RESPONSE Response to Order to Show Cause by Nancy Wilson. (Rubin, Ellis) (Entered: 09/28/2004)

Sept. 28, 2004
36

ENDORSED ORDER granting 33 Motion to withdraw motion to strike demand for attorney's fees. Signed by Judge James S. Moody Jr. on 9/30/2004.(nmb) (Entered: 09/30/2004)

Sept. 30, 2004
37

ENDORSED ORDER withdrawing 23 Motion to strike. The Court has granted Defendant Richard L. Ake's motion to withdraw motion to strike demand for attorney's fees. Signed by Judge James S. Moody Jr. on 9/30/2004.(nmb) (Entered: 09/30/2004)

Sept. 30, 2004
38

ENDORSED ORDER granting 32 Motion for Leave to File Excess Pages. Defendant shall file a signed copy of its memorandum within five (5) days of the date of this Order. Signed by Judge James S. Moody Jr. on 9/30/2004.(nmb) (Entered: 09/30/2004)

Sept. 30, 2004
39

MEMORANDUM in support re 31 Motion to dismiss filed by John Ashcroft. (Simpson, W.) (Entered: 09/30/2004)

Sept. 30, 2004
40

CASE MANAGEMENT REPORT. (Glantz, David) (Entered: 10/12/2004)

Oct. 12, 2004
41

CASE MANAGEMENT REPORT. (Glantz, David) (Entered: 10/13/2004)

Oct. 13, 2004
42

NOTICE by Richard L. Ake re 41 Case Management Report Consent to Exercise of Jurisdiction (Glantz, David) (Entered: 10/13/2004)

Oct. 13, 2004
43

ORDER approving Consent to Exercise of Jurisdiction by Magistrate for specified motions. Signed by Judge James S. Moody Jr. on 10/15/2004. (len) (Entered: 10/15/2004)

Oct. 15, 2004
44

CASE MANAGEMENT AND SCHEDULING ORDER: Fact Discovery due by 1/14/2005. Dispositive Motions due by 4/14/2005. Pretrial Conference set for 9/8/2005 09:00 AM in Courtroom 13 A before Judge James S. Moody Jr. Bench Trial set for trial month commencing 10/3/2005. (See Order for additional deadlines.) Signed by Judge James S. Moody Jr. on 10/18/2004. (len) (Entered: 10/18/2004)

Oct. 18, 2004
45

ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE for Plaintiffs' failure to respond to Motion to Dismiss 31 . Show Cause Response due on or before 11/19/2004. Signed by Judge James S. Moody Jr. on 11/8/2004. (len) (Entered: 11/08/2004)

Nov. 8, 2004
46

MEMORANDUM in opposition to the United States Attorney General's Motion to Dismiss filed by Nancy Wilson. (Rubin, Ellis) "NO LINK TO MOTION, COUNSEL NOTIFIED AND WILL REFILE" Modified on 11/17/2004 (eec ). (Entered: 11/16/2004)

Nov. 16, 2004
47

RESPONSE to Court's Sua Sponte Order to Show Cause of November 8, 2004 by Nancy Wilson. (Rubin, Ellis) "NO LINK TO ORDER, COUNSEL NOTIFIED AND WILL REFILE" Modified on 11/17/2004 (eec ). (Entered: 11/16/2004)

Nov. 16, 2004
48

MEMORANDUM in opposition re 31 Motion to dismiss filed by Nancy Wilson. (Rubin, Ellis) (Entered: 11/17/2004)

Nov. 17, 2004
50

MOTION for leave to file reply memorandum in support of motion to dismiss by John Ashcroft. (Simpson, W.) (Entered: 11/18/2004)

Nov. 18, 2004

Set/Reset Hearings: Bench Trial set for 10/3/2005 09:00 AM in Courtroom 13 A before Judge James S. Moody Jr. Final Pretrial Conference set for 9/8/2005 09:00 AM in Courtroom 13 A before Judge James S. Moody Jr. (eec ) (Entered: 11/18/2004)

Nov. 18, 2004
51

MOTION to consolidate cases by Richard L. Ake. (Glantz, David) (Entered: 11/22/2004)

Nov. 22, 2004
52

RESPONSE to motion re 51 MOTION to consolidate cases Statement of Non−Opposition filed by John Ashcroft. (Simpson, W.) (Entered: 12/02/2004)

Dec. 2, 2004
53

RESPONSE to motion re 51 MOTION to consolidate cases Plaintiffs' Statement of Non−Opposition filed by Nancy Wilson. (Rubin, Ellis) (Entered: 12/17/2004)

Dec. 17, 2004
54

CERTIFICATE of readiness sent to USCA re: 19 Notice of interlocutory appeal. USCA number: 04−14362−FF (crs ) (Entered: 01/04/2005)

Jan. 4, 2005
55

RECORD on appeal sent to USCA re: 19 Notice of interlocutory appeal. Transmittal includes certified copy of docket sheet, volume of pleadings: 2. USCA number 04−14362−FF (crs ) (Entered: 01/04/2005)

Jan. 4, 2005
57

ACKNOWLEDGMENT by USCA of receiving certificate of readiness on 1/7/05 re: 19 Notice of interlocutory appeal. USCA number: 04−14362−FF. (crs) (Entered: 01/13/2005)

Jan. 12, 2005
58

ACKNOWLEDGMENT by USCA of receiving record on appeal on 1/7/05 re: 19 Notice of interlocutory appeal. USCA number: 04−14362−FF. (crs ) (Entered: 01/13/2005)

Jan. 12, 2005
56

ENDORSED ORDER denying 51 Motion to Consolidate. Signed by Judge James S. Moody Jr. on 1/13/2005. (len) (Entered: 01/13/2005)

Jan. 13, 2005
59

ORDER: The U. S. Attorney General John Ashcroft's Motion to Dismiss 31 is GRANTED. Plaintiffs' claim against Defendant Ashcroft is dismissed and the Clerk is directed to terminate him as a party. Signed by Judge James S. Moody Jr. on 1/19/2005. (len) (Entered: 01/19/2005)

Jan. 19, 2005
60

ENDORSED ORDER denying 50 U.S. Attorney General's Motion for Leave to File Reply Memo. Signed by Judge James S. Moody Jr. on 1/20/2005. (len) (Entered: 01/20/2005)

Jan. 20, 2005
61

MOTION for summary judgment by Richard L. Ake. (Attachments: # 1 Appendix Notice of filing exhibit to motion for summry judgment# 2 Exhibit Exhibit to motion for summay judgment)(Glantz, David) (Entered: 01/20/2005)

Jan. 20, 2005
62

ORDER of USCA as to 19 Notice of interlocutory appeal filed by Cody Taylor, that the joint motion to dismiss this appeal with prejudice, with parties bearing their own costs, is granted. Issued as the mandate: 2/23/2005. USCA # 04−14362−F (crs ) (Entered: 02/25/2005)

Feb. 25, 2005
64

NOTICE of Voluntary Dismissal by Nancy Wilson (Rubin, Ellis) (Entered: 03/07/2005)

March 7, 2005
65

ORDER dismissing case. All pending motions are denied as moot. Clerk is directed to close the file. Signed by Judge James S. Moody Jr. on 3/8/2005. (len) (Entered: 03/08/2005)

March 8, 2005

State / Territory: Florida

Case Type(s):

Public Benefits/Government Services

Special Collection(s):

Same-Sex Marriage

Key Dates

Filing Date: July 20, 2004

Closing Date: 2005

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Florida lesbian couple legally married in Massachusetts who are seeking recognition of their marriage license in Florida.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Florida, State

United States, Federal

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201

Constitutional Clause(s):

Equal Protection

Due Process

Commerce Power

Full faith and credit

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Non-settlement Outcome

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Form of Settlement:

Voluntary Dismissal

Issues

General:

Gay/lesbian/transgender

Government Services

Marriage

Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)

Discrimination-basis:

Sexual orientatation

Affected Gender:

Female

Male

Benefit Source:

Social Security Retirement and Death Benefit