The Gay Marriage Prop 8 trial

As I understand it, a couple from the original local case that sued for the right to marry before Prop 8 is now challenging the legality of the voter-approved state amendment to it’s Constitution.

While I support gay marriage, I remember that at the time of Prop 8, much had been said about how this was exactly how it was supposed to work: A winning lawsuit forced the state’s hand when judges decided it was Unconstitutional to bar gays from marrying, so in turn the opponents went out and changed the state’s Constitution, making it legal. So what standing do the plaintiffs have to sue? It’s legal, according to state law now, to discriminate against gays in this fashion. It should be an open-and-shut case right? Are they appealing to some federal law that I’m not aware of?

This is a case in Federal court, as I understand it, challenging the validity of Proposition 8 under the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. There was a;sp sp,e argum,emt that Proposition 8 did not meet the technical qualifications for a referendum/initiative passing a state constitutional amendment.

No, They are suing on the grounds of some federal law that you are aware of - the equal protection clause, and they’ll be throwing in some other grounds too, to cover as many bases as possible. The 14th amendment is a very vague, very abused amendment that can cover a lot of legal area or a little, depending how you interpret it - well how the courts interpret it. The plantiff in the case is hoping to sway the courts to interpret it their way.

Isn’t there a chance this could horribly backfire? Both sides agree that the case will be appealed to the Supreme Court. Given the current makeup of the court, it seems that the odds would favor a ruling that upholds Prop 8. That would set a precedent that could take a long time to undo.

I know you can never predict very accurately what the Supremes will do, but this seems like a risky gamble at this particular time.

Worst case scenerio - the justices say it’s an issue that is left up to the states and no change from status quo.

From a layman’s point of view, the Supreme Court ducks too many issues, especially the morecontroversial ones.

There has been a legal battle about the legal battle regarding whether or not to televise this civil trial. The judge asked for input, received petitions for transparency from 140,000+, and decided to stream the proceedings to other courthouses around the country and post daily videos to YouTube. The judge’s decision was appealed and the Supreme Court issued a stay until tomorrow, when they are supposed to make a decision one way or another.

In the meantime, Rick Jacobs of the Courage Campaign is liveblogging the proceedings:

That’s not even remotely the worst case scenario. The worst case scenario would be that the supremes set a strong precedent against SSM.

I don’t think that that’s particularly likely, but taking a case with big areas of unestablished law to the Supreme Court can definitely end up much worse than the status quo.

I’ll see that WCS and raise you an EMWCS (even more worst case scenario)-- the Supremes rule that that there is a constitutional right to SSM and Congress, with the states, amends the constitution to reverse the ruling and put DOMA in the US Constitution. Then no states could have SSM. Essentially, what prop 8 did in CA. This is probably not too likely anymore, but 10 years ago, could very well have happened.

If these worse-case scenarios were to come to pass, do you think the hearts and minds of “middle america” are going to remain largely unchanged? I don’t, and once the people ambivalently sitting on the fence start to sort themselves out and realize that this particular SCOTUS and their precedent is on the wrong side of history that is still progress and the SCOTUS will again be shown to be made up of imperfect human beings with a lot of power that should to be wielded as carefully and fairly as possible.

One of the most interesting aspects of this case is that one of the lead attorneys on the anti-Prop 8 side is Ted Olson, who has been a major figure in several Republican adminstrations. He was Solicitor General under George W. Bush, for example.

that’s probably what will happen

from a non-layman’s point of view, they don’t shirk their responsibilities to adjudicate tough cases. the more controversial ones are not granted cert because sometimes the supreme court isn’t the best forum to render judgment on these “controversial” issues.

(to which issues are you referring, btw?)

I’ll wait until this thread gets moved to GD to answer that question. I don’t believe there is a factual answer to whether that decision would be on the right or wrong side of history.

The Court of Appeals in San Francisco is the most liberal of any of the Court of Appeals, so if it won’t fly here, it’s unlikely to fly anywhere else.

It’ll be interesting

this is only at the district court level so far.

My only general question is why is the case Perry v. Schwarzenegger? Why not Perry v. CA?
does Schwarzenegger have to sit at the defendants desk. Did he do something deserving of being named here?

The various state and local officials were sued individually; this may be to get around sovereign immunity. Arnold, as well as AG Jerry Brown, declined to defend, so the defense is being carried out by the original proponents of the ballot proposition.

He’s the Governor. They’re suing him in his professional capacity as Governor. There’s a story about some attorney general, I think it was Mike Bowers of Georgia, who was turned down for a mortgage because the mortgage company ran a search and found out he was the defendant in so many lawsuits.

State governments are immune from suit. If a state is doing something unconstitutinal, as is alleged here, you have to sue the officeholders responsible for carrying out the policy.

I agree that justice might better be served by letting this issue lie a few
more years. But there is no big nightclub where all the gays sit down and hash out the next decade’s leglal strategy. These guys have a case, and they have a right to bring it even of disintristed allies such as us wished they didn’t.