University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Hedgepeth v. Davis PB-AL-0010
Docket / Court 1:15-cv-00067-CG-C ( S.D. Ala. )
State/Territory Alabama
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Same-Sex Marriage
Case Summary
On February 9, 2015, the orders in Searcy v. Strange (PB-AL-0005 in this Clearinghouse) and Strawser v. Strange (PB-AL-0010 in this Clearinghouse), took effect: the ban on ... read more >
On February 9, 2015, the orders in Searcy v. Strange (PB-AL-0005 in this Clearinghouse) and Strawser v. Strange (PB-AL-0010 in this Clearinghouse), took effect: the ban on same-sex marriage was now illegal in Alabama, according to the federal courts. However, the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, Roy Moore, strongly disagreed. He had sent an order to probate judges and state employees, threatening them with legal action by the governor, if they issued or recognized same-sex marriage licenses. The chief justice claimed that the federal court orders bound only the Alabama Attorney General and his employees and no one else.

Alabama's probate judges faced competing orders: the federal court's would allow same-sex marriage, but the chief justice's would not. The result was legal chaos. Some probate judges followed the federal court order and issued same-sex marriage licenses but most probate judges refused and many ceased issuing marriage licenses entirely, including the Mobile County Probate Court.

On February 9, 2015, the attorneys in Searcy v. Davis filed this lawsuit, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, on behalf of same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses that day in Mobile County. The defendants were the Alabama Governor, Attorney General, Chief Justice, and various Mobile County officials. Plaintiffs claimed that their Fourteenth Amendment rights were being violated and they requested an emergency injunction commanding the defendants to issue marriage licenses.

On February 10, 2015, the District Court (Judge Callie V. S. Granade) denied the plaintiffs' request for immediate relief but invited them to participate in a preliminary injunction hearing, in Strawser, in two days time. On February 24, 2015, Judge Granade dismissed the Mobile County officials from the case, granting the stipulation for dismissal filed by plaintiffs and the county officials.

In response to the Strawser litigation, the plaintiffs eventually received their marriage licenses. As a result, on March 26, 2015, Judge Granade granted their motion to dismiss: the claims against the governor were dismissed with prejudice; but the claims against the attorney general and the chief justice would be dismissed without prejudice unless they filed an objection before April 2, which the chief justice did.

On April 2, 2015, Chief Justice Moore requested that the claims against him be dismissed with prejudice. On June 16, Moore withdrew his request to dismiss with prejudice, stating that the plaintiffs’ motion to dismiss was sufficient. As a result of this concession, Judge Granada dismissed the plaintiffs' complaints against Chief Justice Moore without prejudice on June 22, 2015.

The case is now closed.

David Hamstra - 04/08/2015
Virginia Weeks - 02/19/2018

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Sexual orientatation
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) State of Alabama
Plaintiff Description Same-sex couples denied marriage licenses in Mobile County, Alabama
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Filed 02/09/2015
Case Closing Year 2015
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing PB-AL-0008 : Strawser v. Strange (S.D. Ala.)
PB-AL-0005 : Searcy v. Bentley (S.D. Ala.)
PB-AL-0012 : Hathcote v. Green (N.D. Ala.)
Additional Resources
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Court Docket(s)
S.D. Ala.
PB-AL-0010-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
S.D. Ala.
Complaint And Request For Immediate Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
PB-AL-0010-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Ala.
Order [ECF# 7]
PB-AL-0010-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Ala.
Order [ECF# 35]
PB-AL-0010-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D. Ala.
Order [ECF# 38]
PB-AL-0010-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Cassady, William E. (S.D. Ala.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
Granade, Callie V. (S.D. Ala.) show/hide docs
PB-AL-0010-0002 | PB-AL-0010-0003 | PB-AL-0010-0004 | PB-AL-0010-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Hernandez, Christine Cassie (Alabama) show/hide docs
PB-AL-0010-0001 | PB-AL-0010-9000
Kennedy, David Graham (Alabama) show/hide docs
PB-AL-0010-0001 | PB-AL-0010-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Agricola, Algert Swanson Jr. (Alabama) show/hide docs
Byrne, David Bryson Jr. (Alabama) show/hide docs
Davis, James William (Alabama) show/hide docs
Druhan, Joseph Michael Jr. (Alabama) show/hide docs
Howell, Laura Elizabeth (Alabama) show/hide docs
McElvy, James Douglas (Alabama) show/hide docs
Olson, William J. (Virginia) show/hide docs
Satterwhite, Harry V. (Alabama) show/hide docs
Titus, Herbert W. (Virginia) show/hide docs
Wible, Elizabeth C. (Alabama) show/hide docs

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