American Foundation for Equal Rights

NY Times: Proposition 8 Trial Pauses, but Not for Ruling

Testimony concluded Wednesday in the first stage of the federal trial over the fate of Proposition 8, California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, as lawyers on both sides continued to argue their case to the news media.

A quick decision is not expected in the case, the first of its kind to reach federal court. Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who heard the case without a jury, said he would study the evidence and other briefs offered to the court before hearing final arguments, possibly in March. And even after his decision, both sides expect the case to be appealed, most likely until it reaches the United States Supreme Court.

The plaintiffs filed their lawsuit last spring after the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, which was passed in 2008 with 52 percent of the vote after a bruising and costly campaign. David Boies, one of the lead lawyers for the plaintiffs seeking to overturn the ban, said testimony during the trial’s two-and-a-half weeks had established three major points: that marriage is a fundamental right, that depriving gay people of that right caused harm, and that “there was no societal benefit to denying gays and lesbians the right to marry.”

“You heard it from not only our witnesses but from their witnesses,” Mr. Boies said. “They admitted what was at work here was a religious divide based on prejudice and stereotypes.”

Read the rest of Jesse McKinley’s New York Times article here.