American Foundation for Equal Rights

Reaction to Maine Same Sex Marriage Vote from Federal Court Challengers to California’s Proposition 8

Nov. 4, 2009
Contact: Yusef Robb / 323-384-1789 /

Statement from Chad Griffin, Board President of American Foundation for Equal Rights, which is Leading the Challenge to Prop. 8 Being Argued by Attorneys Theodore Olson and David Boies

Chad Griffin, Board President of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which is leading the federal court challenge to California’s Proposition 8 being argued by attorneys Theodore Olson and David Boies, made the following statement today in response to the results of the Maine election on same sex marriage:

“Our founding fathers did not intend for people’s Constitutional rights to be determined by political campaigns. The results in Maine underscore exactly why we are challenging California’s same sex marriage ban in federal court. When the Supreme Court ruled in Loving v. Virginia, more than 70 percent of Americans disapproved of interracial marriage. The U.S. Constitution guarantees equal rights to every American, and when those rights are violated, it is the role of our courts to protect us, regardless of what the polls say.”

In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court ended race-based restrictions on marriage with its ruling in the Loving v. Virginia case.

Proposition 8 eliminated Californians’ right to same sex marriage and was passed on the November 2008 ballot.

The American Foundation for Equal Rights’ case against Proposition 8 is scheduled for trial in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California in San Francisco on January 11. The plaintiffs in the case are two same-sex couples — Paul Katami & Jeff Zarrillo and Kris Perry & Sandy Stier — who wish to be married but, because of Proposition 8, have been denied marriage licenses.

“This unequal treatment of gays and lesbians denies them the basic liberties and equal protection under the law that are guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution,” their suit states.

According to the suit, Proposition 8:
**Violates the Due Process Clause by impinging on fundamental liberties
**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,” their suit states, referring to the Court’s decision in Loving v. Virginia.