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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Last brief filed in Prop 8 legal challenge

The following is a letter from the National Center For Lesbian rights with an update about the Prop 8 legal challenge.

"Our legal team has been working around the clock to meet the California Supreme Court’s expedited briefing schedule in our Prop 8 legal challenge. We missed holidays, weekends, and plenty of sleep, but the hard work paid off and we just filed our final brief (pdf) in the case.

Today’s brief highlights the extraordinary breadth of support for our argument that Proposition 8 is invalid. Those supporting our argument represent the full gamut of California’s and the nation’s civil rights organizations and legal scholars, as well as California legislators, local governments, bar associations, business interests, labor unions, and religious groups. A total of 43 friend-of-the-court briefs were filed in our favor.

Many of the nation’s leading legal scholars agree that Proposition 8 is invalid because it seeks to eliminate a fundamental right only for a targeted minority, which cannot be done through the initiative process. Professors from the many universities and law schools in California and across the country authored briefs urging invalidation of Proposition 8, including scholars from Harvard University, Stanford University, Yale University, University of California (Berkeley, Los Angeles, Hastings, Davis, Irvine), University of Southern California, University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers University, University of San Francisco, Loyola Law School, Santa Clara Law School, Chapman University, and Pepperdine University.

As you know, on May 15, 2008, the California Supreme Court held that laws that treat people differently based on their sexual orientation violate the equal protection clause of the California Constitution and that same-sex couples have the same fundamental right to marry as other Californians. Proposition 8 eliminated this fundamental right only for same-sex couples. No other ballot initiative has ever successfully changed the California Constitution to take away a right only from a targeted minority group.

Next, we wait for the Court to schedule oral argument, which could happen as soon as March. We are confident in our argument, humbled by the support of such powerful allies, and hopeful that the promise of California’s constitution will protect all Californians.

We would like to pause and thank our partner, Equality California, and co-counsel, Lambda Legal, the ACLU, the Law Office of David C. Codell, Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.

For up-to-the-minute updates, visit

In hope and solidarity,


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