American Foundation for Equal Rights

U.S. Court of Appeals Asked to Reconsider Landmark Decision Striking Down Proposition 8

Plaintiffs Ready to Defend Historic Victory as Anti-Marriage Proponents of Proposition 8 File Petition for Rehearing En Banc with Ninth Circuit

San Francisco, CA Today, anti-marriage forces asked the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to reconsider its landmark ruling in Perry v. Brown upholding the historic August 2010 decision of the Federal District Court that found California’s Proposition 8 unconstitutional.  Proposition 8 stripped gay and lesbian Californians of the fundamental freedom to marry.

Two weeks ago, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit concluded that Proposition 8 violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.  The Ninth Circuit held:

“Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.  The Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort.”

The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) is the sole sponsor of the Perry case.

The request for a larger eleven-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit to reconsider the case, known as rehearing en banc, is only granted upon a majority vote of the Ninth Circuit’s 25 judges in regular active service.  A petition for rehearing en banc temporarily stays the three-judge panel’s decision striking down Proposition 8.

Proponents’ also renewed their baseless attempt to impugn the reputation of the United States District Chief Judge who struck down Proposition 8.  Unable to defend Proposition 8 on its merits, Proponents claim that the now-retired Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker was disqualified from ruling on Proposition 8 and that his historic decision should be vacated because he is gay and in a committed relationship.  The Ninth Circuit unanimously rejected Proponents’ offensive argument, stating: “To do otherwise would demonstrate a lack of respect for the integrity of our federal courts.”

“We are ready to defend our victory whatever path this case takes,” said Plaintiffs’ attorney Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr.  “Because our plaintiffs have the right to get married, which both the Federal District Court and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vindicated, we oppose en banc review and will seek to bring that fundamental right to reality at the earliest possible time for the tens of thousands of Californians who are being denied basic justice, due process and equality.”

“Today’s petition shows how far the anti-marriage proponents of Proposition 8 will go to ensure that gay and lesbian Americans remain second-class citizens,” said AFER Board President Chad Griffin.  “It is time for this discrimination to come to an end once and for all.   Separate is never equal—and I am confident that one day, very soon, every American will be able to enjoy the fundamental freedom to marry.”


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About the American Foundation for Equal Rights

The American Foundation for Equal Rights is the sole sponsor of the Perry case. After bringing together Theodore B. Olson and David Boies to lead its legal team, AFER successfully advanced the Perry case through Federal District Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Foundation is committed to achieving full federal marriage equality.