American Foundation for Equal Rights

What to Expect at the 9th Circuit

By Chad Griffin, Board President

On Monday, December 6, at 10 a.m. in San Francisco, a three judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in AFER’s case to overturn Proposition 8 and to ensure that same-sex couples have the freedom to marry. This is a critical milestone for our mission to achieve equal rights for every American.

Here’s a preview of what will happen on Monday.

Witness History

The proceedings will be televised starting at 10 a.m. PST on Monday, December 6., providing a great opportunity for the nation to experience this historic event first-hand.

  • Follow online. Find out details to watch online and  at events across the country.
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  • Follow AFER on Twitter and Facebook for updates and use the hashtag #Prop8.
  • Get updates on your mobile phone. There is no deadline or timetable for the court to rule, the 9th Circuit’s ruling could come down at any day following Monday’s hearing. Sign up for mobile updates or text “EQUAL” to 69866 to get the decision first.

Up-to-date viewing information >


Presenting Our Case

The stellar legal team led by Theodore B. Olson and David Boies will defend what we proved conclusively in Federal District Court: marriage is a fundamental right; denying that right to gay and lesbian Americans harms them and their families; when couples can marry, they and their children benefit at no one’s expense.

The Federal Distict Court affirmed our argument: “Because California has no interest in discriminating against gays and lesbians…the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.”

AFER’s attorneys will argue that the District Court was correct when it found that discrimination against gay and lesbian Californians violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equality under the law. Denying gay and lesbian Americans the freedom to marry relegates them to a second-class status.


Refuting the Opposition

Olson and Boies will again confront the tired, failed arguments that the proponents of Prop. 8 presented during the trial. Anti-marriage forces will once again state that barring same-sex couples from marriage is essential to foster “responsible procreation,” and argue that fundamental constitutional rights can be won and lost at the ballot box, while ignoring the mandate of our judiciary to defend us all. They will continue to claim, as their lead counsel Charles Cooper stated during closing arguments, that the courts don’t need any evidence to determine that discrimination can be written into our laws.

Addressing Standing

The court has also asked both sides to discuss whether the proponents of Prop. 8 have standing to appeal the district court’s decision, a question they must answer in all cases they consider. While there are numerous ways the court can rule, AFER is hopeful that the court will consider and address the merits of the case.

The 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects every American. We are prepared to take our case to the U.S. Supreme Court, because all gay and lesbian Americans deserve the freedom to marry.

This is an incredible moment in history that you won’t want to miss.