May 16, 2005 – A federal court ruled Thursday that Nebraska's ban on same-sex unions violates the rights of gays and lesbians because it not only disallows all forms of legal recognition for same-sex relationships, but also blocks them from seeking protections in courts or through the legislature.
In his decision, US District Judge Joseph Bataillon wrote that it was clear the intent of the law was to silence the views of same-sex couples and weaken their political clout by denying them access to the government.
"Section 29 does not merely withhold the benefit of marriage," Bataillon wrote, "it operates to prohibit persons in a same-sex relationship from working to ever obtain governmental benefits or legal recognition, a right they had before the passage of Section 29."
The judge also said the law, which voters passed in 2000, was written so broadly that it could affect "potential adoptive or foster parents and children, related persons living together, and people sharing custody of children as well as gay individuals and people inclined to align with them to promote changes in legislation."
Citizens for Equal Protection (CFEP), Nebraska Advocates for Justice and Equality (NAJE) and American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal filed the lawsuit.