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Proposition 8 Hearing Today

A three-judge panel of the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear an appeal today in the ongoing Proposition 8 legal battle. The appeal challenges District Court Judge Vaughn Walker’s August 2010 ruling that California’s Proposition 8 violates the federal constitutional rights of lesbians and gays. Walker’s decision overturned a 6 to 1 ruling by the California Supreme Court which upheld the measure in May 2009. Walker’s ruling is being challenged by groups such as ProtectMarriage, the Alliance Defense Fund, and officials from California’s Imperial County. The original defendants in the case, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown, have declined to appeal Walker’s decision and expressed support for his ruling. Because the case is not being appealed by its original defendants, the panel will first determine whether those challenging the law are directly harmed by Walker’s decision and have legal standing to challenge the ruling. If the judges find that the challenging groups have standing, the court will then rule on the constitutionality of Proposition 8. Brian Raum, Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel, clarified, “What’s at stake in this case is bigger than California and bigger even than marriage. Americans are concerned about how marriage, voter rights, religious liberty, and other issues will be affected if this lawsuit is allowed to prevail.” Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage, was passed by voters in an electoral referendum in 2008.

Sources:

Alliance Defense Fund Press Release 12/3/10; Los Angeles Times 12/6/10; New York Times 12/5/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 8/4/10