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ACLU wants couple barred from Nebraska same-sex marriage lawsuit

ACLU wants couple barred from Nebraska same-sex marriage lawsuit

LINCOLN, Neb. — The ACLU of Nebraska wants a judge to bar a prison inmate and his transgender fiancee from joining the ACLU’s legal challenge to the state ban on same-sex marriage.

Harold Wilson (left) and Gracy Sedlak
Harold Wilson (left) and Gracy Sedlak

Inmate Harold B. Wilson and Gracy Sedlak have not demonstrated or alleged that the seven Nebraska couples already in the suit do not adequately represent the couple’s interests, the ACLU said in a motion Monday.

The ACLU also said any extra complainants would delay and complicate the case.

The judge has yet to rule.

Wilson and Sedlak earlier this month submitted their motion to intervene in the federal lawsuit, which was filed in November, the Lincoln Journal Star reported. Wilson and Sedlak have said they’ve twice been denied a marriage license by Lancaster County and have been unsuccessful in their own attempts to challenge the Nebraska law.

Wilson, 59, is serving 56 to 170 years in the Lincoln Correctional Center for attempted murder, kidnapping and sexual assault in Dawson County. Sedlak, 29, was released from prison in 2011 and lives in Lincoln.

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Nebraska’s constitutional ban, approved by 70 percent of voters in 2000, defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

In addition to prohibiting gay marriage, it also forbids civil unions and legalized domestic partnerships. The plaintiffs in the new lawsuit were all married outside of Nebraska.

The ACLU first sued Nebraska in 2003 over the ban, which a federal judge struck down in 2005, ruling it deprived gays and lesbians of participation in the political process. An 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel reinstated the ban in 2006.

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