Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Federal Prop 8 Test Happens Thursday | The Bilerico Project

Federal Prop 8 Test Happens Thursday | The Bilerico Project

Filed by: Karen Ocamb
June 29, 2009 11:30 AM

After all the outrage, protests and promises to put same sex marriage back on the ballot in 2010 following the California Supreme Court's May 26 ruling upholding Prop 8, the struggle over marriage equality is now back in the courts - and this time the stakes are even higher.

Ironically, an odd political pair is leading the legal fight this time around - a straight same-sex couple: Ted Olson and David Boies. Their involvement is so unexpected and potentially significant that the case is now referred to as the Olson/Boies case, as opposed to the "Perry" case - named for the last name of the first plaintiff, as is customary.

On Thursday, July 2 the Olson/Boies federal case - brought by the newly established American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) on behalf of two California couples, Kris Perry & Sandy Stier and Paul Katami & Jeff Zarrillo - will go before U.S. District Court Chief Judge Vaughn Walker in the Northern District of California. (This case is distinct from two other unrelated federal cases that are specifically targeting the Defense of Marriage Act, the law that keeps married gay couples from receiving federal benefits.)

Former Nixon White House counsel John Dean wrote in FindLaw that Walker is considered "unpredictable," adding that Walker was appointed to the federal bench by President George H. W. Bush after he was not re-confirmed under President Ronald Reagan.

The judge will hear a preliminary motion seeking a temporary and permanent injunction against enforcement of Prop 8 on the grounds that the state constitutional amendment violates the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution.

The defendants are Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Attorney General Jerry Brown, and the counties of Alameda and Los Angeles where the two couples live.

That's the straightforward part. Almost everything else is as unpredictable as a ride on a rickety Magic Mountain roller coaster.

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