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NEBRASKA ORDERED TO PAY GAY COUPLE'S LAWYERS
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
Posted: August 3, 2005  2:00 pm ET

 

   

Nebraska Ordered To Pay Gay Couples' Lawyers
by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: August 3, 2005  2:00 pm ET

(Lincoln, Nebraska) The federal judge who struck down Nebraska's constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage now has ordered the state the pay the legal fees of the gay couples who took the ban to court.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon's order requires Nebraska to pay the nearly $157,000 incurred by Lambda Legal and the ACLU's Lesbian and Gay Project.  

He then stayed the ruling until all appeals in the case are completed. If the state continues to lose in court it could be on the hook for more than three times the amount. But, Bataillon's award would be reversed if the state wins on appeal.

In May Bataillon ruled that the amendment interferes not only with the rights of gay couples but also with foster parents, adopted children and people in a host of other living arrangements. (story)

The constitutional amendment, passed in 2000 with 70 percent of the vote, bans any and all forms of legal recognition for same-sex relationships, including domestic partnerships and other basic protections. 

In his ruling Bataillon said the ban "imposes significant burdens on both the expressive and intimate associational rights" of gays and lesbians and "creates a significant barrier to the plaintiffs' right to petition or to participate in the political process."

He also noted that the plaintiffs in the case had not requested any recognition of their relationships through marriage or any other legal status, but merely sought an equal opportunity to persuade legislators of the need for protections.   

Bataillon went on to say, "The court finds Section 29 is a denial of access to one of our most fundamental sources of protection, the government.  Such broad exclusion from 'an almost limitless number of transactions and endeavors that constitute ordinary civil life in a free society' is 'itself a denial of equal protections in the literal sense.'"

The state attorney general's office has appealed the ruling to the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis. The court has not set a date to hear oral arguments.

365Gay.com 2005

 
 
   
     
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