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Nebraska Initiative Measure 416
of 2000 is a ballot initiative that amended the Nebraska Constitution to make it unconstitutional for the state to recognize or perform same-sex marriage
Same-sex marriage is marriage between two persons of the same biological sex or social gender. Supporters of legal recognition for same-sex marriage typically refer to such recognition as marriage equality....
s or civil union
A civil union, also referred to as a civil partnership, is a legally recognized form of partnership similar to marriage. Beginning with Denmark in 1989, civil unions under one name or another have been established by law in many developed countries in order to provide same-sex couples rights,...
s. The referendum was approved by 70% of the voters.
The text of the amendment states:
Only marriage between a man and a woman shall be valid or recognized in Nebraska. The uniting of two persons of the same sex in a civil union, domestic partnership, or other similar same-sex relationship shall not be valid or recognized in Nebraska.
Several gay and lesbian advocacy organizations challenged this measure in Citizens for Equal Protection v. Bruning
Citizens for Equal Protection v. Bruning, 455 F.3d 859 , was a federal lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska and decided on appeal by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit challenging the federal constitutionality of Nebraska Initiative...
. In 2005, Judge Joseph F. Bataillon
Joseph F. Bataillon is a United States federal judge.Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Bataillon received a B.A. from Creighton University in 1971 and a J.D. from Creighton University School of Law in 1974. He was a deputy public defender, Douglas County, Nebraska from 1974 to 1980...
of the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska
The United States District Court for the District of Nebraska is the Federal district court whose jurisdiction is the state of Nebraska. Court offices are in Omaha, Lincoln, and North Platte....
ruled that the measure violated the United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...
's guarantees of equal protection and free speech, as well as its prohibition on bills of attainder. In 2006, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in the following districts:* Eastern District of Arkansas* Western District of Arkansas...
overturned Judge Bataillon and ruled that "laws limiting the state-recognized institution of marriage to heterosexual couples ... do not violate the Constitution of the United States."