American Foundation for Equal Rights

ABA Passes Resolution Backing Marriage Equality


August 10, 2010

Contact: Yusef Robb


Nation’s Leading Legal Organization Acts Against Inequality

The American Bar Association, the nation’s leading legal organization, today passed the following resolution:

“RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges state, territorial, and tribal governments to eliminate all of their legal barriers to civil marriage between two persons of the same sex who are otherwise eligible to marry.”

“With this action, the American Bar Association has affirmed the principles upon which this nation was founded—that every American is vested with certain inalienable rights and that all Americans are created equal,” said Chad Griffin, Board President of the American Foundation for Equal Rights. “The ABA’s action is significant in that it represents a broad consensus among scholars and practitioners of the law. The ABA is the nation’s leading legal organization and is the one charged with recommending judges and setting national standards for attorneys. This case is not about ideology or politics, and the ABA’s resolution underscores that. Rather, Perry v. Schwarzenegger is a case grounded in fundamental constitutional law and precedent, including equal protection under the law and due process.”

“By approving a resolution in support of marriage equality, the ABA has confirmed what the federal courts, the state’s chief executive and the state’s chief law enforcement officer have determined in Perry v. Schwarzenegger—that excluding gay men and lesbians from marriage violates their constitutional right to due process and equal protection and causes significant harm to them and their families,”

Griffin added, referring to the Governor and Attorney General.

The American Foundation for Equal Rights is the organization that launched the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case and brought together attorneys Theodore Olson and David Boies (who opposed each other in arguing Bush v. Gore) to lead its litigation. Last week, the Chief Judge of the Federal District Court, Northern District of California issued a 136-page ruling that found that California’s Proposition 8, which stripped gays and lesbians of their right to marry, was unconstitutional, citing its denial of the constitutional protections of equal protection under the law and due process, among other findings.

The City and County of San Francisco, led by City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Chief Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart, are supporting the plaintiffs’ team as co-counsel, with a specific focus on the negative impact Proposition 8 has on government services and budgets.

For full trial transcripts of the trial as well as legal filings, visit

For a trial summary, visit

See key articles at

The plaintiffs in the case want to be married but cannot because of Prop. 8.

Kris Perry and Sandy Stier have been together for more than ten years and their family includes four boys. Both are in public service — Kris leads a childhood health and education agency and Sandy works for a county health department. Their home life centers around their kids, with PTA meetings, soccer and music lessons taking up much of their free time.

Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo have been together for nine years. Jeff is a general manager for a movie theater company and Paul is a business owner. They own a home together and are proud uncles. The powerful testimony of the plaintiffs, along with the presentation of 17 witnesses and revealing cross-examination of the defendant-intervenors’ witnesses, clearly exposed the unconstitutionality of Prop. 8.

John Podesta, head of the progressive Center for American Progress, and Robert Levy, head of the libertarian Cato Institute, are the co-chairs of the American Foundation for Equal Rights Advisory Board, which also includes NAACP Chairman Julian Bond, UFW Founder Dolores Huerta and FOX News Commentator Margaret Hoover. See the Podesta-Levy Washington Post Op-Ed here:

This unprecedented federal court challenge was filed in May 2009, with both sides presenting their cases in court from January 11 to January 27.

Leading civil rights organizations, legal scholars, doctors, scientists, and religious organizations have filed amicus briefs in support of the plaintiffs, including: the California NAACP, Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund (MALDEF), Asian Law Caucus, National Black Justice Coalition, South Asian Bar Association of Northern California, ACLU, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, National Center for Lesbian Rights, retired California Court of Appeal Justice Donald King, family law professors from across the state, American Anthropological Association, American Psychoanalytic Association, National Association of Social Workers, and the American Academy of Pediatrics California Chapter.


“More than 30 years ago, the United States Supreme Court recognized that marriage is one of the basic rights of man,” the plaintiffs’ suit against Prop. 8 states, referring to the Court’s decision in Loving v.Virginia, which struck down bans on interracial marriage.

For more information, please visit