The city clerk of New York City, Herman Katz (defendant), instituted a dress code providing guidelines for wedding ceremonies at New York City Hall (City Hall) that were officiated by the clerk’s office. One such guideline required grooms to wear a coat and tie and brides to wear a dress or skirt. The guideline specifically prohibited brides from wearing pants. Two couples (plaintiffs), one who was married at City Hall and one who planned to be married at City Hall, brought suit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleging that the guideline violated their civil rights with respect to the fundamental right to marry and the freedom of expression. The brides wished to wear pants at their respective City Hall wedding ceremonies. The brides argued that wearing pants would protect them from historical sex-role stereotyping. Katz moved for summary judgment.