By Miriam Raftery May 27, 2009 (San Diego’s East County) – The California Supreme Court ruled this week to uphold Proposition 8 banning gay marriage, though the court also held that gay marriages that occurred before Prop 8’s passage will remain valid. (View the high court opinion here: www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/supreme/). In East County and across the state, leaders on both sides of the controversial issue weighed in with their views. Meanwhile in Los Angeles , a new lawsuit filed in federal court by former opposing counsels in Bush v. Gore seeks to reinstate gay marriages in California.
Republican State Senator Senator Hollingsworth, who represents East County, co-filed a brief as an intervenor asking the high court to uphold Prop 8 and further argued for the court to nullify same-sex marriages that had already been conducted. He has expressed satisfaction with the court’s verdict, noting, “They made a decision that reflects the facts that the proposition was a constitutional amendment, and that was the outcome that the people wanted, to protect traditional marriage.”
Nancy Goetler of La Mesa, an activist who supports gay and lesbian rights, denounced Hollingsworth and expressed disappointment in the high court. “The California Supreme Court's decision to uphold Prop 8 is a major step backwards in the fight for Civil Rights and Equal Rights for All,” she said. “We have our own Dennis Hollingworth to thank for this travesty. He was one of the major interveners (supporting Prop 8) in the court arguments. We've got to get him out of office.”
San Diego Republican Party Chairman Tony Krvaric applauded the court's decision. "The Republican Party of San Diego County was the most aggressive county party in the state, helping to pass Proposition 8, and will do so again, unequivocally - if need be. Thanks to the hard work of many, Proposition 8 passed in our county by 53.7%, a nearly three percentage point greater margin than statewide." California Democratic Party Chair John Burton, by contrast, issued this press statement. “Today's decision, while heartbreaking, doesn't end the historic struggle for marriage equality. It renews our dedication to making sure all California families can again enjoy the dignity, commitment and responsibility of marriage.” San Diego Pride called the date of the court decision “a sad day for civil rights in California” and vowed to continue the battle to legalize gay marriage.
Opponents of Prop 8 staged a protest rally at the County Administration building today, including a sit-in at the County Clerk’s office. The Republican Party, meanwhile, plans to hold a rally on May 31st at the County Administration building downtown to celebrate the high court decision. The Los Angeles lawsuit, filed in federal district court Friday and announced in a press conference today, argues that Proposition 8 --creates a class of “second-class citizens” and thereby violates the U.S. Constitution. The suit also calls for an injunction against Proposition 8 until the case is resolved, which would immediately reinstate marriage rights to same sex couples.
“This unequal treatment of gays and lesbians denies them the basic liberties and equal protectionunder the law that are guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution,” the suit states. The suit was filed by two same-sex couples who wish to be married but, because of Proposition 8, have been denied marriage licenses. The plaintiffs are represented by Theodore B. Olson and David Boies. Olson, a former U.S.Solicitor General, represented George W. Bush in 2000’s Bush v. Gore, which decided the presidential election. Boies represented Al Gore in that case. Olson, widely regarded as one of the nation’s preeminent constitutional lawyers, has argued 54 cases in the U.S. Supreme Court. This is the first time they have served alongside each other as co-counsel. The case, a project of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, was filed in the United States District Court, Northern District of California.