Case: Smelt v. United States

8:09-cv-00286 | U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

Filed Date: March 9, 2009

Closed Date: 2009

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On December 29, 2008, two men married in the state of California, filed suit against the United States, the State of California, and 'Does 1 through 1,000' alleging violations by the Federal Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA", 1 U.S.C. §7) of the Full Faith and Credit, Equal Protection, and Due Process clauses to the Constitution, as well as the rights to Privacy, Speech, Travel, and the Ninth Amendment to the Constitution. The case was originally filed in Superior Court of California for the Cou…

On December 29, 2008, two men married in the state of California, filed suit against the United States, the State of California, and 'Does 1 through 1,000' alleging violations by the Federal Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA", 1 U.S.C. §7) of the Full Faith and Credit, Equal Protection, and Due Process clauses to the Constitution, as well as the rights to Privacy, Speech, Travel, and the Ninth Amendment to the Constitution. The case was originally filed in Superior Court of California for the County of Orange and removed to the US District Court for the Central District of California, Southern Division. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, alleged that DOMA discriminated along lines of gender and sexual orientation by prohibiting any requirement that any state recognize same sex marriages conducted in another state, and in turn permitting the limitation of federal benefits tied to marital status that are due those couples on such grounds. Plaintiffs also complained that the California state constitutional prohibition of same-sex marriage ("Proposition 8") violated the same set of rights as DOMA. These allegations had been brought twice before by the couple, but were dismissed or withdrawn for jurisdictional and technical reasons.

The portion of the case pursuing California law was dismissed as moot on July 25, 2009, since plaintiffs were already and continued to be legally married in the state of California. The Court, Judge David O. Carter, ultimately dismissed the portion of the case concerning DOMA on technical grounds on August 24, 2009, citing improper initial filing in state court (despite removal to proper federal court). The case is notable for the two different stances taken by the Department of Justice ("DOJ") during briefing. The DOJ initially defended the law substantively in briefing filed June 11, 2009, citing public policy considerations to validate DOMA's diminishment of the legal status of same-sex marriages in states where they are prohibited by law, and consequent limitation on the federal benefit rights afforded such couples whose marriages are not legal in all states. In later briefing filed on August 17, 2009, the DOJ withdrew support for the law, stating that it should be "repealed as a matter of policy" due to its "discriminatory" nature, but continued to defend it on the presumption of constitutionality afforded acts of Congress and its practice of defending federal statutes as long as reasonable arguments can be made in support of their constitutionality. This was an intermediate step towards the DOJ's later position that DOMA is unconstitutional.

Summary Authors

Carlos Torres (5/18/2013)

Related Cases

Smelt v. County of Orange, Central District of California (2004)

People


Judge(s)

Carter, David O. (California)

Goldman, Marc L (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Gilbert, Richard C. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Acquisto, Stephen (California)

Beckington, Mark R. (California)

Brown, Edmund G. Jr. (California)

Gilligan, James J (District of Columbia)

Goldberg, Arthur Robert (District of Columbia)

Hertz, Michael F. (District of Columbia)

Renner, Jonathon K. (California)

Judge(s)

Carter, David O. (California)

Goldman, Marc L (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Gilbert, Richard C. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Acquisto, Stephen (California)

Beckington, Mark R. (California)

Brown, Edmund G. Jr. (California)

Gilligan, James J (District of Columbia)

Goldberg, Arthur Robert (District of Columbia)

Hertz, Michael F. (District of Columbia)

Renner, Jonathon K. (California)

Simpson, W. Scott (District of Columbia)

West, Tony (District of Columbia)

Other Attorney(s)

Campbell, James A. (Arizona)

Kim, Sam (California)

Parker, Michael L. (California)

Pugno, Andrew Perry (California)

Raum, Brian W. (Arizona)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

8:09-cv-00286

Docket

Oct. 1, 2009

Oct. 1, 2009

Docket
1

8:09-cv-00286

Notice of Removal

March 9, 2009

March 9, 2009

Notice Letter
1

8:09-cv-00286

Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief

2009 WL 1471476

March 9, 2009

March 9, 2009

Complaint
5

8:09-cv-00286

Answer of Proposition 8 Official Proponents and Campaign Committee

2009 WL 1683907

April 10, 2009

April 10, 2009

Pleading / Motion / Brief
16

8:09-cv-00286

Proposed Intervenors’ Reply Memorandum in Support of Motion to Intervene

2009 WL 1683904

May 6, 2009

May 6, 2009

Pleading / Motion / Brief
22

8:09-cv-00286

Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Motion to Dismiss Action Against Defendant State of California for Failure to State A Claim [Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6)]

2009 WL 1683905

June 11, 2009

June 11, 2009

Pleading / Motion / Brief
25

8:09-cv-00286

Defendant United States of America’s Notice of Motion and Motion to Dismiss; Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support Thereof

2009 WL 1683906

June 11, 2009

June 11, 2009

Pleading / Motion / Brief

8:09-cv-00286

Intervenors’ Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Motion to Dismiss Action Against Defendant State of California

2009 WL 1899555

June 29, 2009

June 29, 2009

Pleading / Motion / Brief
33

8:09-cv-00286

Plaintiffs’ Amended Opposition to Defendant State of California’s Motion to Dismiss

2009 WL 2135249

July 9, 2009

July 9, 2009

Pleading / Motion / Brief
31

8:09-cv-00286

Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Defendant State of California’s Motion to Dismiss

2009 WL 2142730

July 9, 2009

July 9, 2009

Pleading / Motion / Brief

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 6, 2022, 3:10 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

NOTICE OF REMOVAL from Orange County Superior Court, case number 00116748 with copy of summons and complaint. Case assigned to Judge Andrew J. Guilford, Discovery to Magistrate Judge Marc L. Goldman. (Filing fee $ 350 paid), filed by plaintiff United States of America.(twdb) (lwag). (Entered: 03/10/2009)

March 9, 2009

March 9, 2009

2

ORDER RE TRANSFER PURSUANT TO GENERAL ORDER 08−05 −Related Case− filed. Related Case No: SACV04−01042 DOC (MLGx). Case transferred from Judge Andrew J. Guilford to Judge David O. Carter for all further proceedings. The case number will now reflect the initials of the transferee Judge SACV09−00286 DOC (MLGx). Signed by Judge David O. Carter (ade) (Entered: 03/12/2009)

March 11, 2009

March 11, 2009

3

Stipulation and Proposed Order Regarding Schedule filed by Defendant United States of America (Simpson, W) (Entered: 03/16/2009)

March 16, 2009

March 16, 2009

4

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE filed by Defendant United States of America, file−stamped Notice of Removal, etc. served on March 27, 2009. (Simpson, W) (Entered: 03/27/2009)

March 27, 2009

March 27, 2009

5

ANSWER; filed by (Proposed) Intervenors Dennis Hollingsworth, Gail J Knight, Martin F Gutierrez, Hak−Shing William Tam, Mark A Jansson, ProtectMarriage.com−Yes on 8.(rla) (Entered: 04/15/2009)

April 10, 2009

April 10, 2009

6

NOTICE of Interested Parties filed by proposed intervenors Dennis Hollingsworth, Gail J Knight, Martin F Gutierrez, Hak−Shing William Tam, Mark A Jansson, ProtectMarriage.com−Yes on 8, (rla) (Entered: 04/15/2009)

April 10, 2009

April 10, 2009

7

NOTICE OF MOTION to Intervene; filed by intervenor defendants Dennis Hollingsworth, Gail J Knight, Martin F Gutierrez, Hak−Shing William Tam, Mark A Jansson, ProtectMarriage.com−Yes on 8. Motion set for hearing on 5/11/2009 at 08:30 AM before Judge David O. Carter. (rla) (Entered: 04/17/2009)

April 10, 2009

April 10, 2009

8

APPLICATION for attorney James A. Campbell to Appear Pro Hac Vice filed by Intervenor Defendants Dennis Hollingsworth, Gail J Knight, Martin F Gutierrez, Hak−Shing William Tam, Mark A Jansson and ProtectMarriage.com−Yes on 8. (lwag) (Entered: 04/20/2009)

April 16, 2009

April 16, 2009

9

APPLICATION for attorney Brian W. Raum to Appear Pro Hac Vice filed by intervenors Dennis Hollingsworth, Martin F Gutierrez, Hak−Shing William Tam, Mark A Jansson, ProtectMarriage.com−Yes on 8. (ade) (Entered: 04/20/2009)

April 16, 2009

April 16, 2009

10

ORDER by Judge David O. Carter granting 8 Application to Appear Pro Hac Vice by Attorney James A. Campbell on behalf of Intervenor Defendants, designating Michael L. Parker as local counsel. (ade) (Entered: 04/20/2009)

April 17, 2009

April 17, 2009

11

ORDER by Judge David O. Carter granting 9 Application to Appear Pro Hac Vice by Attorney Brian W. Raum on behalf of Intervenor Defendants, designating Michael L. Parker as local counsel. (ade) (Entered: 04/20/2009)

April 17, 2009

April 17, 2009

12

STATEMENT of Regarding MOTION to Intervene 7 by "Proposition 8 Official Proponents and Campaign Committee" filed by Defendant United States of America. (Simpson, W) (Entered: 04/27/2009)

April 27, 2009

April 27, 2009

13

NOTICE OF NON−OPPOSITION to MOTION to Intervene 7 OF PROPOSITION 8 OFFICIAL PROPONENTS AND CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE [Cent. Dist. L.R. 7−9] filed by Defendant State of California. (Beckington, Mark) (Entered: 04/27/2009)

April 27, 2009

April 27, 2009

14

Stipulation and Proposed Order Regarding Schedule filed by Plaintiffs Arthur Smelt, Christopher Hammer, Defendants United States of America, State of California (Simpson, W) (Entered: 05/04/2009)

May 4, 2009

May 4, 2009

16

REPLY in Support of MOTION to Intervene 7 filed by Intervenor Defendants Dennis Hollingsworth, Gail J Knight, Martin F Gutierrez, Hak−Shing William Tam, Mark A Jansson, ProtectMarriage.com−Yes on 8. (Raum, Brian) (Entered: 05/06/2009)

May 6, 2009

May 6, 2009

17

MINUTES (IN CHAMBERS) ORDER by Judge David O. Carter Granting 7 Motion to Intervene. (nbo) (Entered: 05/07/2009)

May 6, 2009

May 6, 2009

18

NOTICE TO FILER OF DEFICIENCIES in Electronically Filed Documents. The following error(s) was found: Incorrect event selected RE: Miscellaneous Document 14 . In response to this notice the court may order (1) an amended or correct document to be filed (2) the document stricken or (3) take other action as the court deems appropriate. (twdb) (Entered: 05/08/2009)

May 7, 2009

May 7, 2009

19

ORDER SETTING SCHEDULING CONFERENCE by Judge David O. Carter, Set/Reset Deadlines/Hearings:( Scheduling Conference set for 8/3/2009 08:30 AM before Judge David O. Carter.) (dg) (Entered: 05/12/2009)

May 12, 2009

May 12, 2009

20

ORDER ON STIPULATION REGARDING SCHEDULE by Judge David O. Carter: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the defendants United State of America and the State of California shall respond to plaintiff's Complaint herein no later than June 11, 2009. IT IS SO ORDERED. (lwag) (Entered: 05/21/2009)

May 21, 2009

May 21, 2009

21

NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION to Dismiss Case Action Against Defendant State of California for Failure to State a Claim filed by defendant State of California. Motion set for hearing on 7/13/2009 at 08:30 AM before Judge David O. Carter. (Beckington, Mark) (Entered: 06/11/2009)

June 11, 2009

June 11, 2009

22

MEMORANDUM in Support of MOTION to Dismiss Case Action Against Defendant State of California for Failure to State a Claim 21 filed by Defendant State of California. (Beckington, Mark) (Entered: 06/11/2009)

June 11, 2009

June 11, 2009

23

REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE re MOTION to Dismiss Case Action Against Defendant State of California for Failure to State a Claim 21 filed by defendant State of California. (Beckington, Mark) (Entered: 06/11/2009)

June 11, 2009

June 11, 2009

24

APPLICATION to Exceed Page Limitation as to Motion to Dismiss filed by defendant United States of America. (Simpson, W) (Entered: 06/11/2009)

June 11, 2009

June 11, 2009

25

NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION to Dismiss Case and Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support Thereof filed by defendant United States of America. Motion set for hearing on 8/3/2009 at 08:30 AM before Judge David O. Carter. (Attachments: # 1 Fee Waiver Orders in State Court Action, # 2 Jurisdictional Statement, Baker v. Nelson)(Simpson, W) (Entered: 06/11/2009)

June 11, 2009

June 11, 2009

26

NOTICE OF ERRATA filed by Defendant State of California. correcting Request for Judicial Notice, Request for Relief 23 (Beckington, Mark) (Entered: 06/12/2009)

June 12, 2009

June 12, 2009

27

MINUTES OF IN CHAMBERS ORDER held before Judge David O. Carter: Court orders the Scheduling Conference, presently set August 3, 2009, CONTINUED to September 14, 2009 at 8:30 a.m. ( Scheduling Conference set for 9/14/2009 08:30 AM before Judge David O. Carter.) (ade) (Entered: 06/15/2009)

June 12, 2009

June 12, 2009

28

MINUTES (IN CHAMBERS): ORDER by Judge David O. Carter, GRANTING APPLICATION FOR LEAVE TO EXCEED PAGELIMIT 24 : The Court hereby GRANTS the Application with the that the opposition brief, if any, is NOT TO EXCEED FORTY−TWO PAGES and the reply brief, if any, are NOT TO EXCEED FIFTEEN PAGES. The Clerk shall serve this minute order on all parties to the action. (rla) (Entered: 06/16/2009)

June 16, 2009

June 16, 2009

30

STATEMENT Regarding Hearing on Motion to Dismiss by State of California filed by Defendant United States of America re: MOTION to Dismiss Case Action Against Defendant State of California for Failure to State a Claim 21 . (Simpson, W) (Entered: 07/06/2009)

July 6, 2009

July 6, 2009

31

Opposition re: MOTION to Dismiss Case Action Against Defendant State of California for Failure to State a Claim 21 filed by Plaintiff Arthur Smelt. (Gilbert, Richard) (Entered: 07/09/2009)

July 9, 2009

July 9, 2009

32

NOTICE TO FILER OF DEFICIENCIES in Electronically Filed Documents. The following error(s) was found: Case number is incorrect RE: Objection/Opposition (Motion related) 31 . In response to this notice the court may order (1) an amended or correct document to be filed (2) the document stricken or (3) take other action as the court deems appropriate. (rrp) (Entered: 07/09/2009)

July 9, 2009

July 9, 2009

33

AMENDED OPPOSITION re: MOTION to Dismiss Case Action Against Defendant State of California for Failure to State a Claim 21 filed by Plaintiff Arthur Smelt. (Gilbert, Richard) (Entered: 07/09/2009)

July 9, 2009

July 9, 2009

34

REPLY Support of Motion to Dismiss Action Against Defendant State of California for Failure to State a Claim MOTION to Dismiss Case and Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support Thereof 25 filed by Defendant State of California. (Beckington, Mark) (Entered: 07/10/2009)

July 10, 2009

July 10, 2009

35

MINUTES (IN CHAMBERS) ORDER by Judge David O. Carter taking under advisement 21 Motion by Defendant State of California to Dismiss Case for Failure to State a Claim. (ade) (Entered: 07/13/2009)

July 13, 2009

July 13, 2009

36

MINUTES (IN CHAMBERS): ORDER by Judge David O. Carter: GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS 21 : (See document for details.) For the foregoing reasons, the Motion is GRANTED and the State of California is HEREBY DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. The Clerk shall serve this minute order on all parties to the action. (rla) (Entered: 07/16/2009)

July 15, 2009

July 15, 2009

37

Stipulation and Proposed Order Regarding Schedule filed by Defendant United States of America re: MOTION to Dismiss Case and Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support Thereof 25 (Simpson, W) (Entered: 07/17/2009)

July 17, 2009

July 17, 2009

38

NOTICE OF LODGING filed re Miscellaneous Document 37 (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(Simpson, W) (Entered: 07/20/2009)

July 20, 2009

July 20, 2009

39

ORDER by Judge David O. Carter on Stipulation Regarding Schedule 37 . Plaintiff's response to the United States' Motion to Dismiss shall be filed no later than 07/27/09. The United States' reply shall be filed no later than 08/17/09. The hearing on the Motion to Dismiss will be heard on 8/24/2009 at 08:30 AM before Judge David O. Carter. (nbo) (Entered: 07/22/2009)

July 20, 2009

July 20, 2009

40

OPPOSITION to MOTION to Dismiss Case and Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support Thereof 25 RESPONSE filed by Plaintiff Arthur Smelt. (Gilbert, Richard) (Entered: 07/27/2009)

July 27, 2009

July 27, 2009

41

NOTICE OF MOTION AND First MOTION for Order for FILE COMPLAINT NUNC PRO TUNC filed by PLAINTIFF Arthur Smelt. Motion set for hearing on 8/24/2010 at 08:00 AM before Judge David O. Carter. (Gilbert, Richard) (Entered: 07/27/2009)

July 27, 2009

July 27, 2009

42

RESPONSE IN SUPPORT of MOTION to Dismiss Case and Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support Thereof 25 Intervenors' Memorandum of Points and Authorities In Support of United States of America's Motion to Dismiss filed by Intervenor Defendants Dennis Hollingsworth, Gail J Knight, Martin F Gutierrez, Hak−Shing William Tam, Mark A Jansson, ProtectMarriage.com−Yes on 8. (Raum, Brian) (Entered: 07/27/2009)

July 27, 2009

July 27, 2009

44

REPLY in Support of MOTION to Dismiss Case and Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support Thereof 25 filed by Defendant United States of America. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of W. Scott Simpson)(Simpson, W) (Entered: 08/17/2009)

Aug. 17, 2009

Aug. 17, 2009

45

MEMORANDUM in Opposition to First MOTION for Order for FILE COMPLAINT NUNC PRO TUNC 41 filed by Defendant United States of America. (Attachments: # 1 Declaration of W. Scott Simpson)(Simpson, W) (Entered: 08/17/2009)

Aug. 17, 2009

Aug. 17, 2009

46

REPLY in support First MOTION for Order for FILE COMPLAINT NUNC PRO TUNC 41 filed by Plaintiff Arthur Smelt. (Gilbert, Richard) (Entered: 08/17/2009)

Aug. 17, 2009

Aug. 17, 2009

47

MINUTES (IN CHAMBERS): ORDER by Judge David O. Carter: GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS 25 : (See document for details.) For the foregoing reasons, the Motion is GRANTED and the present case is hereby DISMISSED, IN ITS ENTIRETY, WITHOUT PREJUDICE. IT IS SO ORDERED.( MD JS−6. Case Terminated ) (rla) (Entered: 08/24/2009)

Aug. 24, 2009

Aug. 24, 2009

48

MINUTES OF Motion Hearing held before Judge David O. Carter re Motion by Defendant United States of America to Dismiss 25 and Motion by Plaintiffs to Deem the Complaint Filed Nunc Pro Tunc and Fee Waiver Granted 41 . Argument by counsel. Motion to Dismiss is granted. Court Reporter: Deborah Parker. (db) (Entered: 09/01/2009)

Aug. 24, 2009

Aug. 24, 2009

49

TRANSCRIPT for proceedings held on 08−24−09, 8:30 a.m. Court Reporter: Deborah D. Parker, phone number (714) 542−8409. Transcript may be viewed at the court public terminal or purchased through the Court Reporter before the deadline for Release of Transcript Restriction. After that date it may be obtained through d.parker@ix.netcom.com or PACER. Notice of Intent to Redact due within 7 days of this date. Redaction Request due 10/22/2009. Redacted Transcript Deadline set for 11/1/2009. Release of Transcript Restriction set for 12/30/2009. (Parker, Deborah) (Entered: 10/01/2009)

Oct. 1, 2009

Oct. 1, 2009

50

NOTICE OF FILING TRANSCRIPT filed for proceedings 08−24−09, 8:30 a.m. (Parker, Deborah) (Entered: 10/01/2009)

Oct. 1, 2009

Oct. 1, 2009

Case Details

State / Territory: California

Case Type(s):

Public Benefits/Government Services

Special Collection(s):

Same-Sex Marriage

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

Key Dates

Filing Date: March 9, 2009

Closing Date: 2009

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

two married males, private individuals

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

United States, Federal

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

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

Constitutional Clause(s):

Full faith and credit

Equal Protection

Due Process

Right to travel

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Issues

General:

Marriage

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

Discrimination-basis:

Sex discrimination

Affected Gender:

Female

Male