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Obergefell v. Hodges

Ohio amended its state constitution in 2004 to restrict the legal definition of marriage to that between a man and a woman, and further prohibited the recognition of a legal relationship that “approximate[s] the design, qualities, significance or effect of marriage.” Support for the amendment came mostly from religious organizations, and their arguments were couched in explicitly religious terms.
Several same-sex couples and an adoption agency challenged Ohio’s marriage ban.

DeBoer v. Snyder

Michigan law does not allow same-sex couples to adopt children. A same-sex couple with adopted children initially challenged this law in January 2012, and later expanded their lawsuit to challenge the Michigan Marriage Amendment.

Bourke v. Beshear

In 1998, the Kentucky legislature passed a law limiting the legal definition of marriage to that between a man and a woman, and prohibited the recognition of marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples in other states. Eight years later, the state amended its constitution to codify these prohibitions.

Bostic v. Schaefer

In 2006, Virginia amended its state constitution to limit the legal definition of marriage to that between a man and a woman, and also prohibited the creation or recognition of civil unions short of marriage. Support for the amendment came primarily from religious groups, and its supporters couched their arguments in religious terms. In July 2013, two same-sex couples challenged Virginia’s marriage ban. The federal trial court ruled in their favor, and the state appealed to the U.S.

Bishop v. Smith

In November 2004, Oklahoma amended its state constitution to limit the state’s recognition of marriage to heterosexual marriage and making it a crime to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple. The amendment was supported with religious arguments and appeals to scripture. In response, two lesbian couples sued to invalidate the amendment.

After nearly a decade of litigation, the federal trial court held that Oklahoma’s marriage ban is unconstitutional. The state appealed that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

Kountze Independent School District v. Matthews

In fall 2012, Kountze Independent School District in Texas received an anonymous complaint regarding religious banners at one of its high school’s football games. Cheerleaders had written religious messages on “run-through” banners, including messages referencing “victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” and being able to “do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” The school district asked the cheerleaders to stop displaying religious messages due to Establishment Clause concerns. 

Freshwater v. Mount Vernon City School District Board of Education

In 2008, the Mount Vernon City School District began an investigation into eighth-grade science teacher John Freshwater, after the parents of one of Freshwater’s students complained that Freshwater had used a Tesla coil to brand a cross on the student’s arm.  Over the course of the investigation, the school district found evidence that Freshwater kept a Bible on his desk and a copy of the Ten Commandments on the classroom bulletin board, proselytized to students, and taught creationism and intelligent design in place of the standard science curriculum.

Barnes-Wallace v. City of San Diego and Boy Scouts of America

The City of San Diego leases large parcels of prime parkland to the Boy Scouts of America at nominal rates. The Boy Scouts discriminate in membership and employment against atheists and agnostics by requiring scouts and leaders to profess a belief in God. A federal trial court held that the leases were unconstitutional because the Boy Scouts are a religious organization and San Diego’s leasing process was not neutral. The Boy Scouts appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Ward v. Polite

A graduate counseling student at Eastern Michigan University refused, as part of her required practicum, to counsel any University client who might require advice about a homosexual relationship or a relationship involving sexual activity outside of marriage. Although the student stated that her religious beliefs prohibited her from counseling patients on these topics, she was expelled by the University for refusing to fulfill program requirements.

Sossamon v. Texas, et al.

Challenge to the denial of a fair opportunity to engage in religious services to an inmate by Texas prison officials in violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.