The biggest U.S. gay rights battle next year is brewing in a California federal court as raucous fights over same-sex marriage in state legislatures and at state ballot boxes subside.
In part, 2010 will reflect a growing move by same-sex marriage advocates to building support for their civil rights cause outside of the election process.
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The federal challenge to California’s ban may be the only conflict in clear sight after a mixed 2009 that saw Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire legalize gay marriage and Washington, D.C., vote for legalization, while there were setbacks in other states that had been expected to follow.
Trial is set to start January 11 in San Francisco. David Boies and Ted Olson, lead lawyers in the federal case, argue that marriage is a U.S. constitutional right too fundamental to limit and that gays and lesbians are a discriminated group that deserve special court protection.
Opposing attorney Charles Cooper says restricting marriage to a man and a woman reflects a reasonable government position that heterosexual couples are best for families. It is not a question of hate, and gays and lesbians have plenty of political power, making special court protection unnecessary.
Thus far every success for gay marriage has come in court or by legislators — never in a referendum.
Read the full story at Reuters.com.