Citizens for Equal Protection v. Bruning

Brief Filed: 11/05
Court: U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit
Year of Decision: 2006

Read the full-text amicus brief (PDF, 2.1MB)

Issue

Involves a federal challenge to a section of the Nebraska Constitution that bans any legal recognition of same-sex couples

Index Topic

Sexual Orientation (discrimination; same-sex marriage)

Facts

The U.S. District Court for Nebraska held unconstitutional an amendment to the Nebraska Constitution prohibiting any form of recognition of same-sex relationships. The district court held, inter alia, that the amendment (Section 29) violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

APA's Position

APA’s brief relied on much of the scientific and professional literature cited in the marriage briefs. Because of Section 29’s blanket denial of recognition of all same sex-relationships, though, the brief focused on the issue of same-sex relationships, rather than marriage. The brief cites empirical research showing that legal discrimination against gay people and same-sex couples reinforces and perpetuates the stigma historically associated with homosexuality. Like the marriage briefs, this brief also explains that gay men and lesbians form stable, committed relationships that are equivalent to heterosexual relationships in essential respects. It further relies on empirical research to demonstrate that gay and lesbian parents are as fit and capable as heterosexual parents, and that their children are as psychologically healthy and well adjusted. In summary, this brief concludes that laws singling out gay persons and same-sex couples for discriminatory treatment have no scientific basis but simply reflect and perpetuate the stigmatization of gay persons and their children.

Results

The Eighth Circuit reversed the lower court ruling thereby rejecting the District Court’s argument that Nebraska’s law was unconstitutional.  A unanimous three-judge panel reinstated Nebraska’s 6-year-old constitutional amendment.