Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Supreme Court Hears Prop 8 Case Thursday

Supreme Court to Hear Oral Arguments
in Prop 8 Legal Challenge on March 5

The California Supreme Court announced today that it will hear oral arguments on Thursday, March 5, 2009 in the Proposition 8 legal challenge.

On November 19, 2008, the California Supreme Court agreed to hear the legal challenges to Proposition 8 and set an expedited schedule. Briefing in the case was completed on January 21, 2009.

The California Supreme Court must issue its decisions within 90 days of oral argument.

On January 15, 2009, 43 friend-of-the-court briefs urging the Court to invalidate Prop 8 were filed, arguing that Proposition 8 drastically alters the equal protection guarantee in California’s Constitution and that the rights of a minority cannot be eliminated by a simple majority vote. The supporters represent the full gamut of California’s and the nation’s civil rights organizations and legal scholars, as well as California legislators, local governments, bar associations, business interests, labor unions, and religious groups.

In May of 2008, the California Supreme Court held that laws that treat people differently based on their sexual orientation violate the equal protection clause of the California Constitution and that same-sex couples have the same fundamental right to marry as other Californians. Proposition 8 eliminated this fundamental right only for same-sex couples. No other initiative has ever successfully changed the California Constitution to take away a right only from a targeted minority group. Proposition 8 passed by a bare majority of 52 percent on November 4.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, and the ACLU filed this challenge on November 5, representing Equality California, whose members include many same-sex couples who married between June 16 and November 4, 2008, and six same-sex couples who want to marry in California. The California Supreme Court has also agreed to hear two other challenges filed on the same day: one filed by the City and County of San Francisco (joined by Santa Clara County and the City of Los Angeles, and subsequently by Los Angeles County and other local governments); and another filed by a private attorney.

Serving as co-counsel on the case with NCLR, Lambda Legal, and the ACLU are the Law Office of David C. Codell, Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.

The case is Strauss et al. v. Horton et al. (#S168047). Click here for more information.


  1. Thanks for the heads-up, Gina. The only news I get these days is from blogfriends. (By choice)

  2. I was going to comment below and then here but it's all connected isn't it

    why the hell is it not a bigger news story!

    and Obama has always pissed me off on gay rights and now he's REALLY pissing me off

    as are many who call themselves liberal, progressive, whatever - yet don't seem to have much fervor when it comes to these issues

    I remain firm in my belief that your child's marriage is as sacred and wonderful as my child's marriage and both should be recognized equally. Not different. The SAME!

  3. March cannot come fast enough.

  4. -ahem- and now the actual comment:

    March annot come fast enough, thanks for keeping this issue up and running.

  5. Thanks for this important post my friend...for keeping us informed...

    Amen to what Dianne said!

    Blessings, M

  6. I hope it will stand.

    As to your email; I have searched and searched and I cannot find it. Sorry to be so ditzy.

    I'm sorry you are having trouble viewing my blog. No one else has told me that, so I have no idea what the problem could be. What browser are you using?

  7. I echo thornesworld - only blog news (by choice). Can't stay by the garden wall, much less get in, with "news" in the background.

    I think kenju meant "hope it won't stand," since what the court will likely do is overturn it. I can't imagine they won't - it is plainly against the CA Constitution as they've interpreted it up to now - and it's the same court... This is what the Supreme Courts are for, to smooth out these occasional aberrations in governance, these moments when Democracy shows it's biggest weakness, what de Tocqueville called "the tyranny of the majority." That function of the courts was greatly admired by de T. - he considered it one of the pillars of American governance, one of the primary reasons we've succeeded as well as we have.

  8. Yes, yes, of coruse that is what I meant!! Sorry to be obtuse and glad that Steve caught it!! THANKS, Steve!

  9. Kenju - you obtuse? Hardly, my dear! It's a confusing legal, constitutional and state-specific situation. I have to read and re-read things to keep it basically straight and the rest I filter out.


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