Perry v. Schwarzenegger to reach federal court

Perry v. Schwarzenegger, a California suit challenging Proposition 8, reaches federal court on January 11. If passed a Supreme Court trial will be held, establishing a national precedent on same-sex marriage.
Perry v. Schwarzenegger Proposition 8 challenge reaches federal court. Logo from NoOnProp8.com

Perry v. Schwarzenegger, a California suit challenging Proposition 8, an amendment to the California constitution banning same-sex marriage, will soon be heard in a federal court Jan. 11.

On May 27, 2009 Kris Perry, Sandy Stier, Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo filed a federal legal challenge against Proposition 8, claiming it violated constitutional rights provided to them by the Fourteenth Amendment.

“This unequal treatment of gays and lesbians denies them the basic liberties and equal protection under the law that are guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

According to the suit Proposition 8 violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, as well as the Due Process clause, and discriminates based on gender.

The couples are currently represented by Ted Olson and David Boies, attorneys well known for their work on the federal case Bush v. Gore, challenging the outcome of the 2000 presidential election.

In past months the case has gained a lot of attention and involvement. Equal rights groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Lambda Legal have pledged their support.

“The ACLU, Lambda Legal and NCLR have asked the court to let its clients, Our Family Coalition, Lavender Seniors of the East Bay, and Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) become parties to the lawsuit in order to illustrate for the court the full range of harms faced by the gay community,” ACLU posted on their site. The motion was later denied in court.

The couples involved released a joint statement regarding their feelings toward the case.

“We and our relationships should be treated equally under the law. Our goal is to advance the cause of equality for all Americans, which is the promise that makes this nation so great,” the statement said.

If the suit passes the federal courts it will then advance to the Supreme Court, where a precedent on same-sex marriage would be established.

-Christopher Clevenger

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