Lawsuit challenges Alabama's ban on gay marriage

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama Thu Feb 13, 2014 4:41pm EST

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (Reuters) - A civil rights group sued Alabama on Thursday on behalf of a gay man challenging the state's ban on same-sex marriage, arguing he should be able to claim the estate of his husband who died in a car crash.

Paul Hard, an associate professor at a university in Montgomery, is seeking to be recognized as the beneficiary of proceeds in a wrongful death case, but Alabama does not recognize him as a surviving spouse. The couple married in Massachusetts.

"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 Dinielli, deputy legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of Hard.

Same-sex marriage is legal in 17 states and the District of Columbia. Its prohibition is being challenged in states across the country following a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year. In one case, a federal judge in Kentucky on Wednesday ordered the state to recognize same-sex marriages of residents who wed outside the state.

Hard and his husband, David Fancher, were married on a beach in Cape Cod, Massachusetts barely three months before the August 2011 accident. Fancher, 54, died while driving to work, his vehicle plowing into the scattered pieces of an overturned truck

near Montgomery.

Hard was listed as the sole beneficiary of Fancher's estate in his will.

The lawsuit in federal court in Alabama seeks to overturn the state's Marriage Protection Act, a 1998 law that bans the recognition of out-of-state gay marriages, and the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment. It says Alabama's definition of marriage violates the equal protection and due process clauses of the U.S. Constitution.

"Marriages are significant, and my marriage is due the same respect as any other," Hard said in a statement on Thursday.

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against the trucking companies involved, according to the civil rights group.

The case is Paul Hard v Robert Bentley, in his official capacity as Governor of the State of Alabama, and the estate of David Fancher 2.13-cv-00922-WKW-SRW

(Editing by David Adams and Grant McCool)

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Comments (2)
david0296 wrote:
Here’s your proof:

You can also add: birth order studies, identical twin studies, gay/straight brain scan studies, in utero hormone research, to the overwhelming consensus that sexual orientation is innate.

By the way, where is your scientific proof that straight people choose to be gay?

Feb 14, 2014 6:26am EST  --  Report as abuse
ready2013 wrote:
“here’s your proof”???? maybe you didn’t read the article you referenced…from the article:
“Researchers at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) think they may have an answer.”

They THINK they have an answer…you get that…they “THINK”, don’t know.

another statement:
“To be specific, the new theory suggests that homosexuality is caused by…”
get that…THEORY, SUGGESTS. Theory is not scientific proof, not a scientific law.

Too many people want to claim they were born that way. More accurately it is environmental (not the weather channel stuff), its choice,

Feb 14, 2014 8:57pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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