American Foundation for Equal Rights

Olson & Boies Detail Case In 294 Page Filing

Attorneys Challenging Prop. 8 in Federal Court Tie Evidence Presented During Three-Week Trial to Specific Points in Filing

Transcripts, Background, Releases, Photos, Video and More at

“I just want to get married…it’s as simple as that. I love someone. I want to get married. My state is supposed to protect me. It’s not supposed to discriminate against me.”

– Plaintiff Paul Katami

Judge: “I’m asking you to tell me how it would harm opposite-sex marriages….”
Pro-Prop. 8 Atty. Cooper: “Your Honor, my answer is: I don’t know. I don’t know.”

– 10/14/09 pretrial hearing rejecting defendant-intervenors’ request for summary judgment

FEBRUARY 27, 2010 – Papers filed last night by attorneys Theodore Olson and David Boies detail how the evidence revealed during last month’s three-week federal trial of Proposition 8 overwhelmingly proves that the measure is unconstitutional.

“This 294-page filing is only a summary of the overwhelming evidence against Proposition 8,” said Chad Griffin, Board President of the American Foundation for Equal Rights. “The evidence proves beyond a doubt that Proposition 8, which separates Americans into unequal groups, violates the U.S. Constitution and causes incredible harm to individuals and our nation as a whole.”

The American Foundation for Equal Rights brought Olson and Boies together to challenge Prop. 8, the California ballot initiative that stripped gay men and lesbians of their right to marry. After both sides presented their cases from Jan. 11 to Jan. 27, the presiding judge, Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker of the U.S. District Court, Northern District, said he would reconvene the trial for closing arguments after he analyzes the briefs that were due last night and the evidence and testimony that were presented at trial.

Olson and Boies represent Paul Katami & Jeff Zarrillo and Kris Perry & Sandy Stier, two couples who want to get married but cannot because of Prop. 8.

At trial, Olson and Boies demonstrated the unconstitutionality of the initiative through the presentation of 17 witnesses and revealing cross-examination of the defendant-intervenors’ witnesses. Put simply, the case against Prop. 8 was made by plaintiffs’ witnesses and the Proponents’.

The trial proved that:

  • Prop. 8 does irreparable harm to Americans
  • Marriage has shed discriminatory restrictions over time
  • Gay men and lesbians are entitled to the full protection of the 14th Amendment
  • There is no good reason for Prop. 8’s denial of fundamental civil rights

Those main points are built upon the wealth of evidence organized within last night’s filing, which is available at:

Also see the trial summary

In addition to outlining the evidence presented by Olson and Boies, the document outlines the devastating admissions made by the defendant-intervenors’ witnesses that further proved our case and undermined the Proponents’; those witnesses’ lack of credentials; and evidence on the utilization of messages of pedophilia, polygamy, incest and bestiality in support of Prop. 8.

Also see the final courthouse press conference at:

Leading civil rights organizations, legal scholars, doctors, scientists, and religious organizations have also filed amicus briefs in support of Olson and Boies case against Prop. 8, 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.


Specifically, Proposition 8:

  • Violates the Due Process Clause by depriving Americans of fundamental rights
  • Violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment
  • Singles out gays and lesbians for a disfavored legal status, thereby creating a category of “second-class citizens”
  • Discriminates on the basis of gender
  • Discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation

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

Under Proposition 8, the State of California government unconstitutionally categorizes Americans into four separate and unequal groups:

  • Those will full marriage rights
  • Those with no marriage rights
  • Those who married between May 2008 and November 2008 whose current marriages are recognized, but who cannot remarry if divorced or widowed
  • Those who can marry in another state and petition California for recognition of their marriages