California Prop 8 basics and Lists of Amicus briefs filed with SCOTUS

proposition 8 mel signProposition 8 was a California ballot proposition and a state constitutional amendment passed in the November 2008 state elections. The measure added a new provision, Section 7.5 of the Declaration of Rights, to the California Constitution, which provides that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

By restricting the recognition of marriage to opposite-sex couples, the proposition overturned the California Supreme Court‘s ruling of In re Marriage Cases that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. The wording of Proposition 8 was precisely the same as that which had been found in Proposition 22, which had passed in 2000 and, as an ordinary statute, had been invalidated by the State Supreme Court in 2008. California’s State Constitution put Proposition 8 into immediate effect the day after the election.  The proposition did not affect domestic partnerships in California,[ nor same-sex marriages performed before November 5, 2008.

After the elections, demonstrations and protests occurred across the state and nation. Same-sex couples and government entities filed numerous lawsuits with the California Supreme Court challenging the proposition’s validity and effect on previously administered same-sex marriages. In Strauss v. Horton, the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, but allowed existing same-sex marriages to stand (under the grandfather clause principle).

United States District Court Judge Vaughn Walker overturned Proposition 8 on August 4, 2010 in the case Perry v. Schwarzenegger, ruling that it violated both the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the United States Constitution.Walker issued an injunction against enforcing Proposition 8 and a stay to determine suspension of his ruling pending appeal.  The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals continued the stay, keeping Walker’s ruling on hold pending appeal.

On February 7, 2012, in a 2–1 decision, a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel affirmed Walker’s decision declaring the Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional.  The panel also unanimously affirmed Judge Ware’s holding that Walker was not obligated to recuse himself from the case because he is gay.  Still, the panel continued a stay on the ruling, barring any marriages from taking place pending further appeals.  On June 5, 2012, a majority of the full Ninth Circuit denied a petition for rehearing en banc and stayed the ruling pending appeal.The proposition’s proponents filed a petition for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, (SCOTUS) requesting that the Court review the case, on July 30, 2012. On December 7, 2012, the Supreme Court granted the proponents’ petition for certiorari.  The Court is expected to issue its ruling in Hollingsworth v. Perry by late June 2013.  (Wikipedia)

Merit Briefs

Amicus Briefs

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