American Foundation for Equal Rights

Details about Oral Arguments on Dec. 8

Special Message from Adam Umhoefer, AFER Senior Project Director

Our case for marriage equality is back on the fast track and we are poised for dramatic progress in the coming months.

We have one final step before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirms the historic Federal District Court decision which found marriage discrimination unconstitutional.

On Thursday, December 8, a three-judge panel will hear oral arguments on our efforts to release video of the Prop. 8 trial and the anti-marriage Proponents’ ridiculous motion to throw out the case. The hearing is expected to last two hours, starting at 2:30 p.m. PT.

AFER’s stellar legal team, led by Ted Olson and David Boies, will once again show why our country’s highest principles must be upheld. I am confident that the Ninth Circuit will swiftly confirm the personal freedom of every American.

We can anticipate a ruling from the Ninth Circuit any time after Thursday’s hearing, possibly before the end of the year or shortly thereafter. The decision will set an important precedent and potentially send our case to the United States Supreme Court.

Here’s a preview of what will happen on Thursday:

Release the Tapes

In the first hour, Ted Olson will argue that the public has a First Amendment right to see video footage of the historic Prop. 8 trial. The District Court has already ruled that the American people have a vested interest in transparent court proceedings, but the Prop. 8 Proponents appealed that decision. They are trying to keep the video under lock and key because they don’t want anyone to know that they failed in court, where reason and facts matter. Also arguing that the tapes should be released is an impressive media coalition comprised of the Associated Press, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, FOX News, NBC News, the Hearst Corporation, Dow Jones & Co., and others.

Motion to Vacate

In the second hour, David Boies will address the Proponents’ offensive motion asking that our District Court victory be vacated because the judge who heard our case is gay and in a long-term relationship. The anti-marriage forces are trying everything they can to get the case thrown out because they know that reason and truth are on our side. This tactic was universally condemned in the media and it took only a day for Chief Judge James Ware to rule against the homophobic motion. We are confident that the appeals court will affirm that being gay has no bearing on a judge’s impartiality, just as courts have historically done with cases involving race, gender and religion.

Hearing to be Broadcast

The court is allowing a live audio broad cast on KQED, a delayed video broadcast on CSPAN and NBC San Diego and has set up remote viewing locations in Pasadena, Portland and Seattle. Everyone will be able to see first-hand the baseless arguments that the Prop. 8 Proponents use to conceal and distract from the real issue: denying gay and lesbian Americans the freedom to marry is unconstitutional.

I hope you will join us on Thursday, December 8 to witness this historic event.