Cases & Deals

Women's advocacy group wins challenge by international marriage brokers

Clients Tahirih Justice Center, The

Attorneys in Atlanta and Columbus worked together to represent the Tahirih Justice Center, a nonprofit women's advocacy group, as an intervenor-defendant in a case challenging the constitutionality of the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005 ("IMBRA"). A consortium of international marriage brokers ("IMBs"), commonly known as "mail-order bride agencies," claimed that the law, which requires IMBs to provide information to foreign women about their legal rights and the criminal backgrounds of their prospective American husbands, infringed upon IMB's constitutional rights. On May 25, 2006, the Court denied the IMBs' motion for a temporary restraining order. On the eve of being deposed, the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the case.

The lawsuit represented an attempt by some IMB's to resist the regulation of their industry, which derives its profits from pairing foreign women with American men. The requirements imposed on the industry by the IMBRA seek to ensure that foreign-born women who frequently speak limited English, have no social ties in the U.S., and are unfamiliar with U.S. laws are given sufficient information to decide whether they feel safe entering into such a relationship and know where to find help if the relationship turns abusive. In the course of the lawsuits, the Tahirih Justice Center provided extensive reports, academic articles, press accounts, congressional testimony, and anecdotal evidence of abuse that substantiate the tremendous vulnerability of foreign-born women to abuse and exploitation, especially those who come to the United States through IMBs. Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the case on the eve of depositions after the Court denied their request for a temporary restraining order.

American Online Dating Association, et al., v. Gonzales, et al., 3:06-CV-123 (S.D. Ohio)

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