Marriage equality opponents seek U.S. Supreme Court review

Staff Reports

WASHINGTON — Proponents of California’s Proposition 8 on Tuesday asked the United States Supreme Court to review the landmark federal appeals court ruling that found Proposition 8 unconstitutional.

Proposition 8, approved by California voters in 2008, stripped away marriage rights from the state’s gay and lesbian couples.

In today’s filing, marriage equality opponents asked the court to determine “Whether the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the State of California from defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.”

“The Supreme Court has long held that the freedom to marry is one of the most fundamental rights—if not the most fundamental right—of all Americans,” said Plaintiffs’ lead co-counsel David Boies, in a statement issued by the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), the sole sponsor of Perry v. Brown (now Hollingsworth v. Perry).

“As we have said from the very beginning of this case, the denial of that fundamental right seriously harms gay and lesbian Americans and the children they are raising. Today’s petition presents the Justices with the chance to affirm our Constitution’s central promises of liberty, equality, and human dignity,” said Boies.

On February 7, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a landmark ruling that affirmed the historic August 2010 judgment of the Federal District Court that struck down Proposition 8.

The Ninth Circuit held that “Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples. The Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort.”

On June 5, 2012, the full Ninth Circuit denied Proponents’ request for an eleven-judge panel to rehear the case, known as rehearing en banc.

“Despite losses in two federal courts and millions of dollars wasted, the proponents of Proposition 8 persist in their effort to hurt California families,” said Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign, in a statement.

“Even if the Supreme Court decides to review the Ninth Circuit’s decision, I am confident that they will come to the same conclusion as the judges, appointed by Democrats and Republicans, who have heard the case before them: Prop 8 simply cannot stand,” said Griffin, who is also co-founder of AFER, and remains a board member.

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Proponents’ request for Supreme Court review, known as a petition for a writ of certiorari, is only granted upon an affirmative vote of four Justices.

“This case is about the equal rights guaranteed to all Americans by our Constitution,” said Plaintiffs’ counsel Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr.

“Because two federal courts have already concluded that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, gay and lesbian Californians should not have to wait any longer to marry the person they love. We therefore will oppose the petition for a writ of certiorari. However, we recognize that this case presents constitutional issues of national significance, and are ready to defend our victories before the Supreme Court,” Boutrous said.

The Supreme Court is expected to act on the petition this fall. If the high court declines to take the case, it would clear the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California.

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