Today closes a huge and important case in California (and for the country, depending on its outcome) in the lawsuit against 2008’s Proposition 8 in California outlawing gay marriage.
In an aggressive final filing in the federal case which wraps up today, backers of Proposition 8 late yesterday asked Judge Vaughn Walker to revoke state recognition of the 18,000 same-sex marriages that took place while it was legal in California, mine included.
From the San Francisco Chronicle:
“Such an order would honor ‘the expressed will of the people,’ backers of the November 2008 ballot measure said Tuesday in their final written filing before Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker. Andrew Pugno, an attorney for Prop. 8’s backers, said in an interview that the sponsors aren’t asking Walker to nullify the 18,000 marriages, but only to rule that government agencies, courts and businesses no longer have to recognize the couples as married. Lawyers for two same-sex couples who sued to overturn Prop. 8, on the other hand, are asking Walker to lift the marriage ban permanently. The measure violates the constitutional guarantee of equality, they argued, and must be struck down ‘regardless of its level of public support.’”
The schedule (PST) is as follows:
10:00 AM – 11:30 AM Olson and Boies deliver closing argument
11:30 AM – 11:45 AM City and County of San Francisco take their turn
11:45 AM – 12:00 PM Governor, Attorney General and county defendants are up
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM Lunch/David Boies and Chad Griffin talk to the media
1:00 PM – 3:15 PM Proponents are on the hot seat (argued by Charles Cooper)
3:15 PM – 3:45 PM Plaintiffs’ get a chance to make their rebuttal
4:00 Plaintiffs hold press conference on the day’s events
A link to the courts’ questions asked of the plaintiffs can be found here.
The team of Ted Olson and David Boies on the side of the plaintiffs, and the historical significance of it, cannot be undervalued. As they were key council in the Bush v. Gore in 2000, on the side of Bush, they now fight on the opposite social and political side in favor of overturning Proposition 8 to keep gay marriage in California legal as approved by the California State Supreme Court in the spring of 2008.
I honestly think this could go either way but I do feel that Judge Walker will side with Proposition 8 and the voters. Although gay himself, he’s done a good job in not allowing NOM and the pro side of Prop 8 to let that fact overshadow his judging.
I think it will be a very difficult decision for him (as it would any judge) to side against the “will of the people” and not be labeled an “activist judge” but that’s exactly how civil rights in the past have been granted. The public at large is often not ready to let go of its prejudices before the courts are ready to grant them. This is why we have government; to hopefully help create and enforce measures that are for the better of the individual and ultimately to the populace.
Obviously this is a huge issue for me, more than anything right now (sorry oil spill) so I’m sure it will be occupying my think time until a judgement is released.