[JURIST] The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the ACLU of North Carolina [advocacy websites] filed a lawsuit [materials] in federal court Wednesday seeking recognition of marriage from the state of North Carolina for three married, same-sex couples. In each couple, one member has a serious medical condition, and North Carolina's same-sex marriage ban [text; JURIST report] prevents the couples from the protections afforded under state and federal law, including those available to surviving spouses. Elizabeth Gill, staff attorney for the ACLU's LGBT project said [press release]: "We and our clients are hopeful that the district court in North Carolina will soon join the growing chorus of decisions striking down these discriminatory bans as unconstitutional." The ACLU also sought immediate relief in a case where a married, same-sex North Carolina couple seeks recognition of their marriage and second parent adoption of their child to secure critical medical care for the child.
Same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] is one of the most hotly debated topics in the US legal community today, with recent discussion generated about same-sex marriage in Illinois and Wisconsin [JURIST op-eds]. Last Friday a judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio [official website] vowed to overturn [JURIST report] the state's ban on the recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages. The ACLU filed two lawsuits in March challenging same-sex marriage bans in Indiana and Florida [JURIST reports]. Earlier in March a judge for the US District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee [official website] granted a preliminary injunction [JURIST report] ordering the state of Tennessee to recognize same-sex marriages performed out-of-state until the lawsuit challenging the ban can be heard. A week prior, four couples filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] in Wyoming state court challenging that state's ban on same-sex marriage. Last year the US Supreme Court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act [text] in US v. Windsor [SCOTUSblog backgrounder; JURIST report].