Wednesday, September 28

The Lawyer

Moe explains the legal battle for gay lesbian marriage which is, presently, working its way up the US Federal system with California playing a very major role. Moe tells me the legislative battle began with the California Court where San Francisco judges ignored the existing California State Law banning gay lesbian marriages. The case went to the District Court of Appeals, and then the California Supreme Court, who sided with the activists. The Court, we think, found the California legislative inactive unconstitutional , violating the California constitutional right to privacy. In response, the gay lesbian opponents put a constitutional amendment on the California ballot, and the people of Calif voted to amend the California constitution to ban gay lesbian marriages. This was Prop 8.

The opponents of Prop 8 then filed a suit in Federal Court in San Francisco claiming the law a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. The Federal Court judge agreed. The proponent of Prop 8 then filed an appeal with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. A question existed at that point as to whether they had "standing" to pursue the action in as much as the California Governor (Schwarzenegger) and the California Attorney General (Jerry Brown) agreed with the Federal Court Decision and refused to join in the appeal.

The 9th Circuit Court of appeals then sent the case to the California Supreme Court to determine if, under California law, the proponents of Prop 8 have standing to pursue the appeal. The decision has not yet issued but, in oral argument, the justices seem to suggest that the proponents have such standing. If the Calif Supreme Court rules in this manner, the case will go back to the Federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. This court will, then, decide the issue of equal protection under the law on the merits.

It is likely that, whatever the 9th Circuit decides, the United States Supreme Court will hear the case on a request for appeal. If the US Supreme Court decides that the California Prop 8 violates the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution, all state bans on marriage between gays and lesbians will cease.

Moe thinks the case will reach the Supreme Court by 2013, if not earlier.