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Moe v. Dinkins

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
533 F. Supp. 623 (1981)


Raoul Roe (plaintiff), who was 18 years old, and Maria Moe (plaintiff), who was 15 years old, had a son and lived together as an independent family unit. Pursuant to two state laws, Moe sought, but was denied, consent from her widowed mother to marry Roe. The plaintiffs filed suit in federal district court against the city clerk and the state commissioner of health (defendants), complaining that the two state statutes requiring parental consent before a minor could be legally married were unconstitutional. Specifically, § 15 of New York Domestic Relations Law provided that all males between the ages of 16 and 18 were required to obtain the consent of both parents before being married and that all women between the ages of 14 and 18 were required to obtain judicial approval, as well as the consent of both parents before being married. Cristina Coe and Pedro Doe (plaintiffs) filed a motion to intervene into the action and allow other similarly situated individuals to proceed under pseudonyms to protect their identities, without appointment of a guardian ad litem. Coe, who was 15 years old, was pregnant and wished to marry Doe, who was 17 years old, but Coe’s mother had refused to give consent. The district court certified the matter as a class action. The plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment, seeking a declaration that § 15 was unconstitutional and an injunction barring its enforcement.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Motley, J.)

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