Follow breaking news @lgbtqnation
Alabama

Advocacy group files lawsuit challenging Alabama same-sex marriage ban

Thursday, February 13, 2014

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on Thursday announced a federal lawsuit challenging Alabama laws that refuse to recognize lawful same-sex marriages.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama on behalf of Paul Hard, a gay man a man whose husband was killed in a automobile accident in 2011.

SPLCPaul Hard, right, with his husband David Fancher at their wedding in Marconi Beach, Mass. on May 20, 2011.

SPLC
Paul Hard, right, with his husband David Fancher at their wedding in Marconi Beach, Mass. on May 20, 2011.

The suit seeks to overturn the state’s Marriage Protection Act, a 1998 law that bans the recognition of same-sex marriages from other states, and the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment, which enshrined the ban in the state constitution in 2005.

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 his deceased husband, David Fancher, listing Hard as the surviving spouse.

“Alabama has created two classes of marriages within its borders and deemed one of those classes – marriages between people of the same sex – to be inferior to the other,” said David C. Dinielli, SPLC deputy legal director. “This is unconstitutional.

“The only purpose of refusing Paul the right to share in the proceeds from the wrongful death lawsuit is to punish him for having married a man, and to express moral disapproval of this choice. These purposes are improper and unconstitutional. Alabama must treat its LGBT citizens with equal dignity and respect under the law.”

Hard and Fancher were married in Massachusetts in May 2011, and Fancher died in a Prattville hospital the following August.

When Hard arrived at the hospital following an early morning crash, a receptionist refused to give him any information about Fancher, telling him 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.”

Advertisement
Adding to the indignity, a funeral home director cited Alabama law in insisting that the death certificate indicate Fancher was never married.

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against the trucking companies involved in the wreck. Fancher had collided in the dark with a large truck strewn across the northbound lanes of I-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 David died with a will and Paul was the sole beneficiary).

And because Alabama refuses to recognize lawful same-sex marriages entered out of state, current state law means that Paul cannot be deemed the surviving spouse and cannot share in the proceeds of the lawsuit.

The lawsuit outlines how the Marriage Protection Act and the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment violate the equal protection and due process clauses of the U.S. Constitution and impermissibly infringe on intimate, personal relationships without any adequate justification.

The case is Hard v. Bentley.

Share this article with your friends and followers:

Archives: , , ,

Filed under: Alabama, [ Editor's Picks ], [ Trending ]

42 more reader comments:

  1. Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5:18pm
  2. Katast Entropy!!!

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5:18pm
  3. ALABAMA STILL IN DARK AGES, gotta have somebody to discriminate against.

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5:20pm
  4. As if Alabama is the only state discriminating against people.

    Replied on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5:26pm
  5. No one's claiming that, Randi.

    Replied on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5:36pm
  6. And the plot thickens…soon we will have a law suit in ever state left with a ban on same-sex marriage. Forcing the United States Supreme Court to step into the debate and make a nationwide ruling once and for all.

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5:21pm
  7. Can someone challenge NC and maybe I’ll go back home!

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5:22pm
  8. Bam!a

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5:22pm
  9. it will be the first southren state to allow same sex marriage if they win o.o OMG NEXT NC OMG OMG OMG

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5:22pm
  10. I hate living here >…< … I hate Alabama Q.Q

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5:24pm
  11. Amber. WHAT!

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5:24pm
  12. whaaaaat!

    Replied on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5:26pm
  13. Alabama! I mean… Oklahoma did it before Michigan….

    Replied on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5:27pm
  14. BUT STILL

    Replied on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5:27pm
  15. If America is the land of the free, then Gay marriage should be allowed- or I pledge to ban heterosexual marriage!

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5:25pm
  16. In reading this article its hard for me to understand why people don’t see that laws prohibiting same sex marriage are so discriminating against us… its as plain as the nose on their faces…

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5:27pm
  17. come on….lets do this..

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5:28pm
  18. Fuck that shit gay all the way

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5:29pm
  19. Fuck the rest of you

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5:30pm
  20. When foes the Supreme Court steps in and makes it legal in all states. How many lawsuits does it take?

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5:30pm
  21. Go get them!!!

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5:36pm
  22. I’m getting really sick and tired of these f’cking christians infringing on the lives and liberties of others.

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5:36pm
  23. There is nothing beautiful about Alabama!!!!

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5:38pm
  24. That's a very ignorant and inaccurate statement. Alabama's a very beautiful state full of sweet and amazing people. It's the ruling parties (you know, the ones with all the money) that's colored the state's reputation since it's been a state. Don't judge the entire state on its leaders alone.

    Replied on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 6:06pm
  25. Kentucky open the Southern gates!! Let’s keep moving forward!!

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5:39pm
  26. Get over it Alabama…. really..what the hell…all you Southern states are in the dark ages

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5:40pm
  27. We are LEGION family, keep fighting the fight and dont settle.for less…..We Ran The World Before…..and We Shall Again…..and they should.be worried about us…because.not all of us are not going to smile and.forgive…..2000 yrs of oppression…..they can Kiss Our Asses :-)

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5:41pm
  28. Hey, my home state

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5:43pm
  29. Fuck that shit gay marriage all the way everyone else can fuck off

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5:43pm
  30. Go get ‘em!

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5:45pm
  31. It would be nice to be able to move back home and get married! I love my state and am very proud to be from Alabama, however its time to stop the hate and give everyone their full rights as citizens of the USA

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5:54pm
  32. My Southern Baptist stepfather would spit nails!

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5:54pm
  33. Just like here in utah

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5:59pm
  34. Damn breeders

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 6:00pm
  35. I agree with to Denny Chasteau. You know that straight marriage doesn’t work anyway. More people causes trouble being in straight marriage

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 6:04pm
  36. Damn….I would have thought Alabama would one if the last states…..to legalize it

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 6:08pm
  37. Ewe..why would any gay person want to live in Alabama…the redneck state of America?!

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 6:10pm
  38. In a sarcastic voice my first thought was “good luck with that”, then in my serious voice…good luck with that. I can’t really see it happening, but if it does, I’m going to be shocked as Alabama and a few other states are the only ones who I think will be behind Ga. If Bama legalizes Gay Marriage bf Ga. I’m going to be shocked…and very happy!!!

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 6:16pm
  39. They don’t have to legalize it yet…Just recognized same sex marriage from other States. Just like Kentucky did.

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 6:18pm
  40. Then, my gf could divorce her ex who left her 7 years ago. She is in limbo. MA required 1 year residency in MA to divorce. Just like straight marriages, some gay marriages do not work either.

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 6:20pm
  41. This makes me so angry.. It makes me ask why can’t our president make this illegal.. I mean he has made it where everyone has to have insurance then make a law that legalize marriage for everyone in every state.. It is a shame that even when u have a will the states don’t have to follow ur wished either.

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 6:26pm
  42. It is awful. We need a federal law that all States have gay marriage. It reminds me of when interacial marriages were illegal.

    Posted on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 6:30pm