The Freedom to Marry in Nebraska

Winning Marriage: June 26, 2015

The United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the freedom to marry nationwide on June 26, 2015, allowing all same-sex couples in Nebraska the ability to marry once and for all. The decision followed more than a year of marriage litigation in Nebraska.  

History and the Path to Victory:

  • November 7, 2000: Opponents of the freedom to marry in Nebraska push through Initiative Measure 416, a constitutional amendment denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry and any other legal family status. The amendment cements clearly discriminatory language into the Nebraska Constitution.
  • May 12, 2005: A federal judge rules that Nebraska state constitutional amendment is unconstitutional under the U.S. Constitution. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeal later reverses the opinion of the lower court.   
  • 2000-2014: As Americans nationwide engage in conversations about why marriage matters, national and local advocates in Nebraska take strides toward increasing understanding of same-sex couples and their families.
  • November 17, 2014: Same-sex couples and the ACLU of Nebraska file a lawsuit seeking the freedom to marry in Nebraska, Waters v. Ricketts. Read the initial complaint – and meet the plaintiffs
  • March 2, 2015: U.S. District Judge Joseph F. Bataillon rules in favor of the freedom to marry, striking down Nebraska's marriage ban. Read the ruling. Nebraska officials appeal the decision to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, which puts the case on hold pending resolution from the U.S. Supreme Court. 
  • June 26, 2015: The United States Supreme Court rules in favor of the freedom to marry, ending marriage discrimination across the country.

Groups Actively Working on Marriage:

  • The ACLU of Nebraska is the state affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, committed to standing up for equality for all Nebraskans. The organization is leading the litigation seeking the freedom to marry in Nebraska.
  • Citizens for Equal Protection was a non-profit membership organization dedicated to advocating for the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender families in the state of Nebraska.
  • Freedom to Marry was the campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples nationwide.