Well Known Lawyers Make Legal Move on Gay Marriage - NBC Bay Area

Well Known Lawyers Make Legal Move on Gay Marriage



    Well Known Lawyers Make Legal Move on Gay Marriage
    Same-sex marriage demonstrators wait in front of San Francisco City Hall for the California State Supreme Court to rule on the legality of a voter-approved ban on same-sex unions, Tuesday, May 26, 2009 in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

     In the wake of the California Supreme Court's decision to uphold  Proposition 8, the state's ban on same-sex marriage, two couples are pursuing  a new tactic with a federal court lawsuit.

    A lesbian couple from Berkeley and a gay couple from Burbank filed  the lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco on Friday. 

    The lawsuit claims that Proposition 8, enacted by state voters on  Nov. 4, violates the couple's federal constitutional rights to due process  and equal treatment by denying them the right to marry.

    The couples are represented by prominent attorneys Theodore Olson  of Washington, D.C., and David Boies of Armonk, N.Y., who argued on opposite  sides of the Bush v. Gore case that decided the 2000 presidential election.

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    San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who is running for governor, said, "California at its best is a beacon of equal rights and equal opportunities. If we want to prosper together, we must respect each other."
    (Published Tuesday, May 26, 2009)

    Today, the attorneys filed a motion asking for a hearing on July 2  before Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco on their bid  for a preliminary injunction blocking Proposition 8.

    The two couples said in a statement today, "We and our  relationships should be treated equally under the law. Our goal is to advance  the cause of equality for all Americans."

    Until now, battles over same-sex marriage in California have  centered on the state constitution. A year ago, the California Supreme Court  said by a 4-3 vote that the state constitution's guarantee of equal treatment  provides a right to gay marriage.

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    The state Supreme Court has upheld a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, but also decided that the estimated 18,000 gay couples who tied the knot before the law took effect will stay wed.
    (Published Tuesday, May 26, 2009)

    But state voters overturned that ruling when they enacted  Proposition 8 by a 52 percent majority last fall as a state constitutional  amendment. On Tuesday, the state high court ruled by a 6-1 vote that  Proposition 8 was within voters' power to amend the state constitution. 

    The new lawsuit is based on separate federal constitutional  rights.

    Among other cases, the lawsuit cites a 1967 ruling in which the  U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Virginia ban on interracial marriage and  said the freedom to marry is a "vital personal right."

    The plaintiffs are Kris Perry and Sandy Stier of Berkeley, who  have been together for nine years and have four sons, and Paul Katami and  Jeff Zarrillo of Burbank.

    Both couples say they tried to get married last week, but were  denied marriage licenses by their county clerk's offices because of  Proposition 8.