Closing Arguments for Historic Proposition 8 Trial Begin Today

Closing remarks in the historic federal trial to determine the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, the November 2008 ballot initiative that overturned the right of same-sex marriage in the state, are scheduled to begin today. According to All Headlines News, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker has given both the plaintiffs and defendants in the case a series of questions he wishes to be addressed in the closing arguments. Walker has requested from the plaintiffs empirical data demonstrating that “legal recognition of same-sex marriage reduces discrimination against gays and lesbians,” reports All Headlines News. Proposition 8 defenders are charged with the task of producing evidence showing, “that same-sex marriage has or could have negative social consequences.” Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) attorney, Jim Campbell, told OneNewsNow that the unusual method of issuing questions to be addressed in the closing arguments, “show us [that] the judge is carefully grappling with the issues raised in the case and that he is seriously considering the questions before him.” The case, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, is widely expected to reach the Supreme Court, regardless of today’s ruling. The current suit was filed in May 2009 on behalf of two same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses after the passage of Proposition 8. It is the first federal case to consider whether it is legal for states to ban same sex marriage through ballot initiatives. The California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8 in a 6 to 1 ruling in May 2009. The proposition, which passed 52 percent to 48 percent, overturned a May 2008 ruling of the state Supreme Court that resulted in, among other provisions, the legalization of same sex marriage in the state. The Court’s 2009 opinion preserved the marriages of the 18,000 same-sex couples who married in California during the period same-sex marriage was legal. Same sex marriage is currently legal in five states (Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont). Washington, DC, approved same sex marriage legislation in December 2009 and is waiting for a mandatory 30 day congressional review period to expire before the legislation becomes law. Legislation to legalize same sex marriage was recently defeated in New York and New Jersey.


All Headlines News 6/16/10; OneNewsNow 6/16/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 1/11/10

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