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Shahar v. Bowers

United States Appeals Court for the Eleventh Circuit
114 F.3d 1097 (1997)


In September 1990, Robin Shahar (plaintiff) accepted an offer to join the office of the Georgia Attorney General, Michael Bowers (AG) (defendant), as a staff attorney in September 1991, following her graduation from law school. In 1990, Shahar was planning a “wedding” to her partner Francine Greenfield for the following summer. The state of Georgia does not recognize same-sex marriage. In her employment application with the AG, Shahar named Greenfield as her future spouse. In the summer of 1991, Shahar disclosed her wedding plans to a number of AG employees, some of whom were invited to attend. Word of her marriage to another woman was brought to the attention of Bowers. Upon the advice of senior attorneys in the office, he withdrew Shahar’s offer of employment on the grounds that her employment would constitute the AG’s “tacit approval” of same-sex marriage and thereby endanger the effectiveness of the office. Shahar sued the AG for violation of her rights of exercise and association, equal protection, and substantive due process. The district court granted the AG’s motion for summary judgment. Shahar appealed.

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