A hearing will be held in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case on Wednesday, April 28 at 10:30 a.m. in the courtroom of Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, in San Francisco.
The hearing had originally been planned to deal with the outstanding discovery issues – Equality California and the ACLU argued that internal communications between organizations should be protected, as well as those specified by Walker and upheld by the 9th Circuit. With that “clarification,” EQCA, one of the lead No on Prop 8 campaign groups, turned over internal strategy documents to the Yes on 8 defendant-interveners. The hearing is now expected to clear up unfinished case management business. Since Walker has pushed for a speedy trial, it is very possible that he could set a date for closing arguments that could bring the historic federal challenge to Prop 8 to a conclusion.
This is the press release from the American Foundation for Equal Rights:
The American Foundation for Equal Rights brought together attorneys Theodore Olson and David Boies, who notably faced-off in Bush v. Gore, to lead this challenge to Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative that stripped gay men and lesbians of their right to marry. Olson and Boies represent Paul Katami & Jeff Zarrillo and Kris Perry & Sandy Stier, two couples who want to get married but cannot because of Prop. 8.
After both sides presented their cases from Jan. 11 to Jan. 27, Chief Judge Walker said he would reconvene the trial for closing arguments after he analyzes the evidence and testimony that were presented at trial, as well as other filings with the court.
At trial, Olson and Boies demonstrated the unconstitutionality Prop. 8 through the presentation of 17 witnesses and revealing cross-examination of the defendant-intervenors’ witnesses. Put simply, the case against Prop. 8 was made by plaintiffs’ witnesses and those of the defendant-intervenors.
The trial proved that:
- Prop. 8 does irreparable harm to Americans
- Marriage has shed discriminatory restrictions over time
- Gay men and lesbians are entitled to the full protection of the 14th Amendment
- There is no good reason for Prop. 8’s denial of fundamental civil rights
Courthouse press conference video at: www.equalrightsfoundation.org/media/videos/perry-press-conference-1-27-10/
Since the end of testimony, leading civil rights organizations, legal scholars, doctors, scientists, and religious organizations have also filed amicus briefs in support of Olson and Boies case against Prop. 8, including: the California NAACP, Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund (MALDEF), Asian Law Caucus, National Black Justice Coalition, South Asian Bar Association of Northern California, ACLU, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, National Center for Lesbian Rights, retired California Court of Appeal Justice Donald King, family law professors from across the state, American Anthropological Association, American Psychoanalytic Association, National Association of Social Workers, and the American Academy of Pediatrics California Chapter.
Specifically, Proposition 8:
- Violates the Due Process Clause by depriving Americans of fundamental rights
- Violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment
- Singles out gays and lesbians for a disfavored legal status, thereby creating a category of “second-class citizens”
- Discriminates on the basis of gender
- Discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation
“More than 30 years ago, the United States Supreme Court recognized that marriage is one of the basic rights of man,” the suit against Prop. 8 states, referring to the Court’s decision in Loving v. Virginia, which struck down bans on interracial marriage.
Under Proposition 8, the State of California government unconstitutionally categorizes Americans into four separate and unequal groups:
- Those will full marriage rights
- Those with no marriage rights
- Those who married between May 2008 and November 2008 whose current marriages are recognized, but who cannot remarry if divorced or widowed
- Those who can marry in another state and petition California for recognition of their marriages
Here’s EQCA’s statement about turning over the internal strategy documents:
San Francisco – Today Equality California, having secured a key ruling, will turn over internal strategy emails and campaign materials relating to the effort to defeat Proposition 8.
Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors issued the following statement:
“We are very pleased that Judge Walker clarified his ruling in accordance with the Ninth Circuit’s affirmation that the first amendment protections for communications applies not only to internal communications within each individual organization but also to communications among multiple organizations working in coalition.
Had this protection been eroded, it would have set a devastating precedent for future social justice efforts. Having secured this ruling – the key principle we were fighting for – we will turn over responsive, non-privileged documents so that a decision can be rendered in an expeditious manner. We thank our pro-bono counsel at Fenwick & West who worked tirelessly to ensure that this protection was obtained.”