UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT
On October 7, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to accept for review any of the pending same sex marriage cases. The decision of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals became a final judgment and Indiana's statute prohibiting and refusing to recognize same sex marriage was declared unconstitutional. Same sex marriages began on October 7, 2014 and now continue, unfettered.
Thanks to everyone who provided support, guidance and advice along the way. And in particular, kudos to the plaintiffs of Lee V. Abbott - a group of courageous, strong and intelligent women who were determined to fight this fight all the way to Washington. Heartfelt congratulations to Evansville Police Sargent Karen Vaughn-Kajmowicz and Tammy Vaughn-Kajmowicz; IMPD Officer Pamela Lee and Candace Batten-Lee and IMPD Officer Teresa Welborn and Beth Piette. And a special congratulations and thanks to IFD Battalion Chief Ruth Morrison and Martha Leverett. It was Chief Morrison who began this battle over 10 years ago. Congratulations Ruth, you have won!
SEVENTH CIRCUIT OPINION
DISTRICT COURT PLEADINGS
The case began in the District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Hon. Richard L. Young, Chief Judge, presiding. Here are various pleadings from the case:
SEVENTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS
Oral Argument has n0w been set for August 26, 2014 at 9:30 a.m. with 20 minutes allotted per side. The State's motion to have the case heard en banc has been denied.
Following a victory for the First Responders in the District Court, Attorney General Greg Zoeller appealed the case to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals where it was consolidated with the same sex marriage Indiana challenges filed by Lambda Legal and the ACLU of Indiana. Our brief is due July 29, 2014. The State's reply brief is due August 5, 2014.
Additionally, the Indiana case is now consolidated with the Wisconsin appeal of the declaration that its state constitutional amendment prohibiting same sex marriage is unconstitutional under the U.S. Constitution.
In any case of high profile and importance, individuals and organizations will file a brief of the amicus curiae (friend of the court), supporting a particular side of the argument. The deadline for filing amici briefs on behalf of the State of Indiana was July 22, 2014 while the deadline for filing the amici briefs on behalf of the First Responders is August 5, 2014.
AMICI BRIEFS ON BEHALF OF THE STATE
WISCONSIN APPEAL (Also in the 7th Circuit)
ABOUT THE CASE:
Karen Celestino-Horseman is co-lead counsel in the case Lee v. Abbott, a case challenging Indiana's law refusing to recognize the marriages of four First Responders and their same sex spouses who lawfully married in a jurisdiction other then Indiana. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department ("IMPD") Officer Pamela Lee, IMPD Officer Teresa Welborn, Evansville Police Sergeant Karen Vaughn-Kajmowicz and Indianapolis Fire Department ("IFD") Battalion Chief Ruth Morrison (retired) ("First Responders") are all members of the 1977 Police and Fire Pension Fund ("Pension Fund") run by the State of Indiana.
If a police officer or firefighter dies while in the line of duty, the Pension Fund has promised to pay the spouse a lump-sum payment of $150,00.00. If a police officer or firefighter dies while in the line of duty, while on active duty or while retired, the spouse is to receive a monthly benefit. The State of Indiana will only pay these death benefits to spouses who are of the opposite-sex of the police officer or firefighter who dies.
The Pension Fund has refused to designate Candace Batten-Lee (spouse of Officer Lee), Beth Piette (spouse of Officer Welborn); Tammy Vaughn-Kajmowicz (spouse of Sergeant Vaughn-Kajmowicz) and Martha Leverett (spouse of Chief Morrison) as the designated spouse beneficiaries of the First Responders. This means that the spouses will not receive the death benefits provided by the Pension Fund.
Officers Lee and Welborn, Sergeant Vaughn-Kajmowicz and Chief Morrison promised to serve and protect the people of Indiana. They have fulfilled or are fulfilling that promise. No one claims otherwise. These First Responders are simply asking that if they have to put their lives on the line for Hoosiers, that the State of Indiana follow through on its promise to take care of their families in the event of their death.
OTHER CIRCUIT DECISIONS
AMICI BRIEFS ON BEHALF OF