American Foundation for Equal Rights co-founder and Board President Chad Griffin on the request for an en banc rehearing of the 9th Circuit ruling that Prop 8 is unconstitutional:
The anti-marriage proponents of Prop. 8 are now asking for a wider panel of the Ninth Circuit to review their baseless, discriminatory claims for justifying state-sponsored discrimination. Moreover, they are also continuing their offensive, homophobic attack on the District Court judge who first heard our case and struck down Prop. 8. With this new filing, they are trying, once again, to get the case thrown out because the trial judge was gay and in a relationship.
If they want another round, we are ready.
We won in Federal District Court; Prop. 8 was found unconstitutional. We won again in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals; Prop. 8 was deemed to “serve no purpose…other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California.”
No matter what path this case takes, we will defend our victory.
A rehearing of our case is completely unnecessary. Because gay and lesbian couples like our plaintiffs have the right to get married, which both the Federal District Court and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vindicated, AFER opposes a rehearing by the Ninth Circuit and will seek to bring that fundamental right to reality at the earliest possible time for the tens of thousands of Californians who are being denied basic justice, due process and equality.
Every piece of evidence and every witness (including the Prop. 8 Proponents’ own witnesses) pointed to one conclusion: the fundamental freedom to marry should not be denied to any American. They failed to present a shred of evidence to justify discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans, and they will fail yet again.
The Ninth Circuit will now have to decide if it will rehear our case. A majority of the Ninth Circuit’s 25 active judges will need to vote on what is known as en banc review. If the request is granted, the case will be heard by a panel of 11 judges. If it is rejected, we can expect the anti-marriage forces to try and take our case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Because the Court has acted swiftly in the past by placing our case on an expedited schedule, there is every reason to believe that it will quickly resolve this issue.
When we filed this case, we knew it would be hard-fought. We knew the anti-marriage forces would try every legal maneuver and stall tactic to prevent gay and lesbian couples from being able to get married.
They have lost at every turn, and they will lose again.
And here’s how AFER’s Matt Baume explains it: