Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Beginnings of a Supreme Court Ruling on Same Sex Marriage?

CNN reports on on a trial that began yesterday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco challenging California's Proposition 8 (which bans same-sex marriage).

[Perry and Stier have] been committed to each other for eight years and have four sons together, but there's a component missing in one Berkeley, California, couple's life that's out of reach for them: getting married.  Perry and Stier, along with Jeffrey Zarrillo and Paul Katami, of Los Angeles, are the two couples at the heart of the case, arguing that California's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. They are asking Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker to issue an injunction against Proposition 8's enforcement.

The case will likely head to the U.S. Supreme Court no matter what the outcome. It is expected to set legal precedents that will shape society for years to come and result in a landmark court decision that settles whether Americans can marry people of the same sex.

Representing them are two high-powered attorneys, Ted Olson and David Boies. They're an unlikely pair -- former courtroom adversaries best known for being on opposing sides of the "hanging chad" dispute of the 2000 presidential election in Florida.

Republican California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state's Democratic Attorney General Jerry Brown are defendants in the lawsuit because of their positions in California government. However, both have said they would not defend the suit. Brown filed a legal motion saying he agreed with the position advanced by Olson and Boies. Schwarzenegger has taken no position.

And if you want to watch it all as it plays out:

Plans had been made to have a camera in the courtroom, and the proceedings distrubuted on YouTube, but the ballot initiative's sponsors prevailed in their 11th-hour bid to persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to restrict distribution of video of the trial -- at least temporarily.

The justices wrote in their terse order that they need until at least Wednesday afternoon to consider the camera issue.

Read the full story here.


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