California Allows Gay Marriage, but School Doesn’t

Rally and Online Petition for Fired Gay Teacher

A popular English teacher at St. Lucy’s Priory High School in Glendora, California has been fired not for incompetence, but because news of his same-sex wedding went public.  The teacher, Ken Bencomo, 45, married his partner of 10 years, Christoper Persky, on July 1 in a civil ceremony at San Bernandino City Hall of Records.  They were among the first gay couples to wed after the Supreme Court struck down Proposition 8 in California.

The pictures of the wedding, accompanied an article about marriage equality, were in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin on July 1st and created quite a stir with the Catholic private high school’s administration which employed Bencomo.  Just days after the newspaper photos appeared, this head of the English Department, a Rancho Cucamongo resident, was fired because “his marriage violated the Catholic church’s teachings based on Roman Catholic tradition. Gay marriage goes against the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Bencomo vs. St. Lucy’s Priory High School

Bencomo was told on July 12 by the school that his teaching contract for the fall would not be renewed.  Bencomo’s lawyer Patrick McGarrigle contends that the school knew Bencomo was gay for at least ten of the seventeen years he taught as he brought his partner to school functions.  Bencomo may sue the school.

Although the school purports that “it does not discriminate against teachers or other school employees based on their private lifestyle choices, public displays of behavior that are directly contrary to church teachings are inconsistent with these values.”  The Catholic Church does not consider homosexuality a sin per se, but only if you act on it.

Rally Planned for August 4 to Reinstate Teacher

Former St. Lucy’s student Brittany Littleton, describes Bencomo as a “beloved mentor, confidant, and educator.” Littleton, now 23, launched a petition that has garnered 45,000 signatures.  She will deliver the petition at a press conference on August 8th at the school where former and current students as well as faculty will gather to show support for Bencomo in a peaceful rally.



On Monday, July 15, 2013 the California State Supreme Court without explanation refused to issue an emergency halt to same sex marriage as requested in the latest petition filed by Project Marriage on behalf of Ernest Droneburg, a San Diego county clerk. The legal brief filed on Friday, July 12, 2013 asked that the California State Supreme Court stop same sex marriage until the legal arguments could be considered in full. The legal brief was filed in the California State Supreme Court as the United States Supreme Court has already barred them from defending Proposition 8 in federal court.

Project Marriage is arguing that State officials incorrectly interpreted the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 28, 2013 decision. Since the U.S. Supreme Court did not rule directly on the Perry Case, Project Marriage’s position is that the U.S. Supreme Court did not make same sex marriage legal they simply “tossed out” the gay marriage ban on a legal technicality.

Project Marriage’s further argues that the original lawsuit filed in San Francisco only named county clerks of Los Angeles and Alameda counties and therefore does not apply to the other 56 counties in the state of California.  In addition they propose that State registers had no authority to instruct county clerks in these 56 counties to comply with the Governor and Attorney General’s order to resume issuing same sex marriage licenses.

In response to the California State Supreme Court’s refusal to halt same sex marriage, The County Counsel’s Association of California is drafting an opposition petition that more than 20 other county clerks are expected to file by Monday, July 22, 2013.

The Friday, July 12, 2013 filing was the second attempt by Proposition 8 supporters to halt same sex marriage in California after the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 28, 2013 ruling. The first petition was filed one day after this ruling. They argued that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lacked the authority to remove the same sex marriage ban because the 25 day waiting period before the U.S. Supreme Court rendered its final disposition (sending a certified copy of the judgment to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals) had not yet passed. Failing to do so, deprived them of their right of a reasonable amount of time to prepare a petition for rehearing. This petition was also denied without comment on June 30, 2013.

American Views on Gay Marriage After Supreme Ct. Decisions

Pew Research Center, ABC News, USA Today, Reuters Survey Americans

Highlights of the Polls’ Findings

Following the June 26, 2013 Supreme Court decisions that struck down Prop 8, the California law that banned gay marriage, and a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act that barred the federal government from providing benefits to same-sex spouses, Americans were polled about those landmark

cases. All the polls: Reuters, USA Today, Pew Research Center, ABC News/Washington Post Poll found that the majority of Americans still support same-sex marriage.  Here are the highlights:

Reuters Findings

Four hundred and ten people were polled were asked separate questions about each ruling on June 26, 2013 (the day of the ruling) and on June 28, 2013. Here are the finings:

  • A majority of Americans are either in favor of same-sex marriage or had no opinion.
  • Forty-three percent agreed or strongly agreed with the court’s handling of a case concerning DOMA.
  • Forty-one percent agreed or strongly agreed with the court’s handling of the Prop 8 case.
  • Twenty-five percent of those surveyed strongly opposed DOMA and Prop 8 decisions. About a quarter of respondents were either unfamiliar with the decisions or had no opinion.

USA Today Poll Survey

Conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International June 27-30, 2013, respondents were asked “Do you think marriages between same-sex couples should or should not be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages?”

  • Fifty-five percent should.
  • Forty-four should not.
  • Five percent were unsure.

The other question asked was” Do you favor or oppose the Supreme Court’s ruling in the DOMA case (explained as an unconstitutional part of the Defense of Marriage Act that denied married gays and lesbians federal benefits that are available to married couples of the opposite sex)?

  • Forty-eight were in favor.
  • Forty-three were opposed.
  • Nine percent were unsure.
  • Only major demographic groups in which a majority opposed same-sex marriage were  Republicans (68%) and seniors 65 and older (51%).
  • In the South, a stronghold for opposition to gay marriage, opposition has slipped below 50%.

Pew Research Center Survey Findings

Conducted from June 27-30, 2013, interviewees were asked “from what you’ve read and heard about the Supreme Court’s decisions on same-sex marriage, would you say you strongly approve, approve, disapprove, or strongly disapprove of their decision?”

  • Forty-five percent of those interviewed were in favor.
  • Forty-percent disapproved.
  • Fifteen percent were unsure.
  • Twenty-two percents of Republicans approve.
  • Sixty-three percent off Republicans disapprove.
  • Fifteen percent were unsure.
  • Sixty-one percent of Democrats approve.
  • Twenty-nine percent of Democrats disapprove.
  • Ten percent of Democrats are unsure.

In answer to the question: “Did the Supreme Court rule in favor of those who opposed same-sex marriage, or those who support same-sex marriage?” the respondents opined:

  • Sixty-six percent supported the decision.
  • Thirteen percent opposed it.
  • Twenty-one percent were unsure.

Replying to the question “Do the Supreme Court’s rulings mean that same-sex couples can now get married in all 50 states, or is it up to individual states to determine whether same-sex couples can get married”, the respondents answered:

  • Sixty-seven percent said it is up to each state.
  • Fifteen percent said homosexuals can marry in all 50 states.
  • Eighteen percent are unsure.

ABC News/Washington Post Poll

Conducted from June 26-30, 2013, adults nationwide were asked “Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision providing legally married same-sex couples with the same federal benefits given to another married couples?”

  • Fifty-six approved.
  • Forty-one disapproved.
  • Three percent were unsure.

Asked the question “overall, do you approve of disapprove of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision letting stand a lower court ruling that allows gay marriage in California?”

  • Fifty-one percent approve.
  • Forty-five percent disapprove.
  • Four percent were unsure

















Couples Can Wed Again in California


Proposition 8 Struck Down

What is Prop 8?

Proposition 8 in California is the voter-approved law that limits marriage to one man and one woman that was passed in 2008.  In 2010, Prop 8 was declared unconstitutional by Judge Vaughn Walker because it limited marriage to only opposite couples thereby denying gay and lesbian Californians their basic rights.

Judge Walker’s decision was challenged by a group of citizens who put Prop 8 on the ballot. A federal court ruled that this group did not have legal standing to challenge the law.  Hollingsworth vs. Perry was the case before the Supreme Court.

The justices essentially adopted the rationale of the federal appeals court that found that California could not take away the right to marry that had been granted by the state Supreme Court in 2008, before Proposition 8 passed. The Court ruled that “because the Governor and Attorney General of California – the officials responsible for defending state laws in court- decided not to appeal Judge Walker’s decision. The supporters of Proposition 8 could not appeal that decision on their own because they could not show that allowing same-sex couples to marry would personally affect them in any way.”

This historic ruling on June 26, 2013, restores the freedom to marry to same-sex couples in California. Because of the demise of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, that defined marriage as only between a man and a woman, Californians once married can now receive federal benefits equal to those of heterosexual couples.

Time-Line for Same-Sex California Marriages

On June 28, 2013, the Ninth Circuit lifted the stay preventing California from marrying same-sex couples.  California Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. issued a statement saying “I have directed the California Department of Public Health to advise the state’s fifty-eight counties that they must begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in California as soon as the Ninth Circuit confirms the stay is lifted.”

Immediate Weddings

Attorney General Kamala Harris, rushed to San Francisco City Hall within minutes of the meeting to marry two of the plantiffs Kris Perry and Sandy Stier.  Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa of Los Angeles married the other two plantiffs in the case Paul Katami and Jeffrey Zarrillo.

Many legal experts and advocates had expected the court to wait for an official decision from the Supreme Court –this is normally the procedure.  But Attorney General Harris urged the Circuit Court to act immediately.

Counter Argument

Under Supreme Court rules, the losing side in a legal dispute has twenty-five days to ask the high court to rehear the case.  The court said that it would not finalize its ruling in the Proposition 8 dispute until after that time had elapsed.

Justice Anthony Kennedy denied the emergency petition from an anti-gay marriage group to halt same-sex weddings in California immediately.  The Ninth Circuit’s June 28, 2013 Order purporting to dissolve the stay allowed weddings to resume two days after the Supreme Court declined to rule on Proposition 8’s constitutionality.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the Supreme Court’s majority opinion: “we have never before upheld the standing of a private party to defend the constitutionality of a state statue when state officials have chosen not to.  We decline to do so for the first time here.”





Proposition 8 Emergency Petition to Halt Same Sex Marriage Denied


On Sunday, June 30, 2013 Supreme Court Justice Kennedy denied the emergency petition of Proposition 8 opponents without comment or any attempt to get views of Proposition8 opponents.

The proponents of Proposition 8 filed the petition to halt same sex marriage in California on June 29, 2013. As soon as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the ban on same sex marriage on June 28, 2013, California Governor Jerry Brown issued a directive to the counties in California to begin issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.

The Proposition 8 emergency petition was filed in the U.S. Supreme Court on the grounds that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lacked the authority to lift the same sex marriage ban stay before the twenty five day waiting period that the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to honor before “rendering it’s final disposition,” by sending a certified copy of the judgment to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The petitioners also stated that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to lift the ban before the end of the twenty five days (Monday, July 22) essentially deprived concerned parties of their right of a reasonable amount of time to prepare a petition for rehearing, if so desired. However legal experts agree that petitions for rehearing are rarely granted.

In February 2012, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower U.S. District Court’s ruling that Proposition was unconstitutional. But it stopped short of lifting the same sex marriage ban until the Supreme Court ruled or refused to rule on the appeal filed by the Proposition 8 proponents. The latest emergency petition also included in its argument this Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to not lift the ban prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s review of the case.

So it appears that Proposition 8 is finally dead in the water. The minimal amount of news coverage generated by the filing of this latest emergency petition and the U.S. Supreme Court’s rejection of it, suggests that most people had already considered Proposition 8 long out to sea.

So where will all of the proponents of Proposition 8 turn their attention now?  Perhaps they will fight to deny same sex couples the right to divorce in the states in which they are now legally allowed to marry. Wait. That doesn’t make sense. Maybe they will join forces and work to expedite the legal processes necessary to allow divorce for same sex couples. Wait another minute. That doesn’t make sense either. Now, what was the original Proposition 8 argument?

What are your thoughts?

Equality Won – Gay Marriage Victories

America took a great stride toward fulfilling its inherent commitment to equality. On June 26th, the United States Supreme Court issued two very important gay rights rulings that nullified the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8. The court found DOMA unconstitutional on equal protection grounds and determined those petitioning the court to sustain Prop 8 did not have “standing” to do so and let the 9th Circuit decision stand.

DOMA being declared unconstitutional, brings to an end a very long fight that finally brings fairness and equity to those same sex couples legally married in that they now are accorded all the federal benefits of marriage that are available to heterosexual couples. The dismissal of Prop 8 by the Supreme Court restores the right to marry in CA, bringing the number of marriage equality states to 12.

While we can bask in the glow of victory momentarily, we must take up the battle tomorrow, as we still have 38 states that do not recognize LGBTQ Americans as equals, and legally discriminate against them due to the constitutional bans on same sex marriage, and are denied access to many rights and privileges straight Americans are entitled to. Our transgender brothers and sisters are also still persecuted and many states deny gay couples adoption rights, hospital visitation rights, and other rights and privileges that straight couples take for granted.  There is much work yet to be done before ALL Americans are equal.

I am confident that the freedom to marry will come to all states in the union. The Supreme Court found DOMA unconstitutional on equal protection grounds, and the court also cited Loving v. Georgia, which essentially means state constitutional bans on same sex marriage would not pass Supreme Court muster either. It is only a matter of time before marriage equality and full and equal access to all the rights and privileges accorded to straight married couples by the federal government are enjoyed by all Americans.

The beacon of freedom and justice shines a bit brighter throughout America after these court rulings. America certainly is a more perfect union because of the court’s historic decisions. The Supreme Court took a monumental step toward protecting the freedoms of gay and lesbian Americans. However, we have a long way to go and we will not relent or become complacent in our efforts to continue to work toward achieving America’s promise of liberty and justice for all for ALL Americans.

Supreme Court Delivers Gay Marriage Victory

BREAKING NEWS:  Supreme Court Delivers First Gay Marriage Victory

Profound Victory for basic human rights as the Supreme Court issues rulings on Gay Marriage.

In 5-4 ruling, U.S. Supreme Court justices overturn Defense of Marriage Act, saying it is unconstitutional. DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment. Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Thomas issue Dissents. Chief Roberts and Scalia believe there is no jurisdiction. Opinion is by Justice Kennedy, joined by the four liberal Justices — Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Kennedy states, “DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled ot recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty.”

In plain terms, same-sex couples who are legally married will be entitled to equal treatment under federal law such benefits include income taxes, social security benefits and over a thousand other federal laws and programs. The Court explained that by denying recognition to same-sex couples who are legally married, federal law discriminates against them. This decision means that same-sex couples who are legally married must now be treated the same under federal law as married opposite-sex couples..

In Proposition 8 ruling, court dismisses based on standing. Gay Marriage Ban in California is struck down. From Chief Roberts “”The Court does not have before it, and the logic of its opinion does not decide, the distinct question whether the States . . . may continue to utilize the traditional definition of marriage.” The Ninth Circuit was without jurisdiction to consider the appeal. The judgment of the Ninth Circuit is vacated, and the case is remanded with instructions to dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

In plain English because the State of California would not defend the law, proponents of the ban filed the suit challenging the ninth circuit courts decision.  The supreme court has ruled that the suit had no standing as the proponents have no legal rights to bring the case.

At 10am the Supreme Court and it’s nine justices convened to issue rulings on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which limits the definition of marriage to being specifically a male/female relationship for the purpose of federal benefits, and a California state law banning gay marriage AKA proposition 8.

Both cases, which were argued in March, could shape the debate profoundly on weather gay men and women have the right to marry their same-sex partners. The cases come before SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) at a time when opinion polls show growing support for gay marriage.  While only 12 (13 with California) states recognize gay marriage, there are still over 30 states that prohibit it with many more with laws that try to provide some rights to gay couples while not officially calling it “marriage”.

The DOMA case before the court was brought by Edith Windsor of New York who was married to a woman, Thea Spyer, legally at the state level in New York, but was unable to get the federal estate tax deduction available to heterosexuals when their spouses die due to the 1996 DOMA law.  When Spyer died in 2009, Edit Windsor was forced to pay federal estate taxes in the amount of $363,000.  Windsor case files suit against the federal government seeking a refund of the same amount.

While the Obama administration once defended the law, Attorney General Eric Holder said the law was unconstitutional in 2011. The administration asked the Supreme Court to strike the law down. making Obama the first sitting president to support gay marriage.

The California case, Proposition 8,  was a state ballot measure that was approved by voters in 2008 just months after the California’s supreme court ruled in favor of gay marriages. A federal judge struck the proposition 8 law down two years later in 2010 as a violation of the US Constitutions guarantee of equal protection.

Historic Gay Marriage Cases Set for Late March

U.S. Supreme Court will Hear Two Oral Arguments

On January 7, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the challenge to California’s Proposition 8 Hollingsworth v.Perry, the constitutional amendment that forbids same-sex marriage on  March 26, and on March 27, it will listen to oral arguments in U.S. v. Windsor, the ACLU’s case challenging the constitutionality of DOMA which denies federal recognition to same-sex couples’ marriages. The court has scheduled only one hour’s worth of arguments each day. However, justices can extend the time allotted to arguments in each case.

The nine Supreme Court Justices involved in these cases are:  John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Broyer, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayer, and Elena Kagan.


The Proposition 8 Case

The Justices will be considering if Proposition 8 violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  In November 2008, the ballot initiative banning gay marriage in California was passed by popular vote.

AFER,the American Foundation for Equal Rights, filed the lawsuit against Proposition 8 on behalf of two couples: Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo and Sandy Belzer Stier and Kris Perry. In February 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit declared the law unconstitutional and this ruling was then appealed to the Supreme Court.

The couples will be represented ironically by” hotshot” lawyers Ted Olson and David Boies. These lawyers were adversaries in the 2000 Bush vs. Gore case, resulting in GeorgeW. Bush becoming the U.S. President. Boies and Olson have argued over 170 cases in the Supreme Court and have winnings in the Federal District Court and 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Eleven California couples are hoping for the Supreme Court to overturn Proposition 8.

The Doma (Defense of Marriage Act) Challenge

Federal appeals courts in New York and Boston had ruled that the law is unconstitutional. The Republican leadership of the House of Representatives appealed to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court Justices agreed to hear the case of Edith Windsor, a Manhattan native. Windsor, legally married in Canada, is suing the federal government because they do not recognize her same-sex marriage to her late wife Thea Spyer.

Because DOMA does not allow the U.S. government from recognizing same-sex marriages (even in states where gay marriages are legal), couples cannot file joint federal tax returns or receive survivor benefits if one spouse dies.  In 1996, DOMA was passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law by President William Clinton.  Windsor has sued because she was required to pay a $350,000 federal estate tax bill on Spyer’s estate.

All nine justices could participate in this case.  It only takes four votes to hear a case.

Justice Kennedy believed to be the Fulcrum

Justice Kennedy authored the Lawrence v. Texas ruling that struck down state anti-sodomy laws in 2003 so he is expected to proceed on a course that is favorable to gays and lesbians. However, as much as homosexuals may want him to bring marriage equality to the entire country either by resorting to the fundamental right to marry or deeming sexual orientation a suspect classification, the March outcomes may have more limited victories.

Gay Hero Duncan Hosie, A Name Gays Can Trust

Princeton University Student Challenges Supreme Ct. Justice Scalia

Duncan Hosie, a San Francisco native interested in constitutional law, wasn’t ‘buying’ Supreme Court Justice’s Antonin Scalia’s equating laws banning sodomy with those barring bestiality and even murder.  “Why do you think it’s necessary to liken the consenting relationships of gay adults to animal rapists and murderers?”, he asked Scalia.

A Princeton 2016 classman, Hosie, was in the University’s audience during a question-and-answer period following the promotion of Antonin Scalia’s new book, “Reading Law.”  Based on Scalia’s Supreme Court votes, speeches and writings on the subject, Hosie, who had just come out a month before, found his rhetoric offensive.

Justice Scalia Put On the Spot

The U.S. Supreme Court Justice answered Hosie by saying “ I don’t think it’s necessary, but I think it’s effective because legislative bodies can ban what they believe to be immoral. It’s a form of argument that I thought you would have known, (says Scalia in a condescending tone) which is called the ‘reduction of the absurd.’  If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?”

Scalia affirmed that he was not equating sodomy with murder, but drawing a parallel between the bans on both. Hosie wasn’t satisfied with the answer.  In fact, according to http://LGBTQ Nation, 12/16/12/Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia: A duplicitous, totalitarian bigot,” “Scalia is widely known for keeping alive the tradition of disingenuously likening homosexuality to bestiality, incest, and murder.”

Does He Speak with Forked Tongue?

Scalia is famous for his dissents of the Lawrence v. Texas case which struck down sodomy laws as unconstitutional  (“ The Texas statute undeniably seeks to further the belief of its citizens that certain forms of sexual behavior are ‘immoral and unacceptable’ – the same interest furthered by criminal laws against fornication, bigamy, adultery, adult incest, bestiality and obscenity” ) and his 1996 Supreme Court decision overturning a voter-approved, anti-gay referendum in Colorado (“ I would no more require a State to criminalize homosexual acts – or for that matter, display any moral disapprobation of them – than I would forbid it to do so.”)

Scalia emphasizes that the Constitution is not a living document, but it, and all laws, should be interpreted by requiring adherence to the words used and to their meanings at the time they were written.

From Princeton to International Recognition

The gutsy Hosie, although conceded that Scalia was polite, argued that Justice Scalia’s response was not accurate and absurd in many respects during his interview on MSNBC’s The Last Word last week. “I think there is a fundamental difference between arguing that the Constitution doesn’t protect gay rights and saying that the Constitution justifies that we need to use this language when talking about gay rights, and that was the point of my question.”   Professor Turley of Princeton, also on the show, called Scalia’s commentary “troubling.”

Hosie, who received an “overwhelmingly positive” reaction after the story appeared, said “I think he needs to persuade a lot more Americans about his views because I think they’re becoming increasingly out of the mainstream.”

A new gay rights advocate, Hosie is not alone. He speaks for other LGBT individuals who are fearful of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Scalia sitting in judgment on the upcoming cases regarding the critical Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the overturning of California’s Proposition 8.

Perhaps, Justice Scalia should excuse himself from those deliberations?


Que Passa with Proposition 8?

The History of Proposition 8

The battle of gay marriage in California is not over yet.  The “Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry Act), formerly titled “California Marriage Protection Act,” was in November 2008 an initiative on the California voter ballot which defined marriage as between one man and one woman. Consequently, it altered the California Constitution: California became the 29th state to pass a constitutional amendment banning marriage for gay and lesbian couples.

On March 5, 2009, hearings were held in the California Supreme Court on the constitutionality of Prop 8.  The court, 90 days later, upheld Proposition 8.  Despite the ruling, the 18,000 couples married prior to the ban kept their licenses and rights.

The first same-sex couple to marry in Los Angeles County, Robin Tyle and Diane Olson, along with two other parties, file a lawsuit to fight the constitutional amendment.  A month later, former Attorney General and now Governor Jerry Brown personally claimed Prop 8 “unfortunate” and expressed hope that the Supreme Court will overturn the measure.

The Landmark Trial – Cases in Federal, not State Court System

No federal court had ever considered whether gay and lesbian Americans have the freedom to marry prior to January 11, 2010.  The Federal District Court had to decide whether the state can deny rights to some Americans based solely on whom those people wish to marry. Should a person’s sexual orientation define whether he or she could marry?

On January 11, 2010, Attorney Ted Olson (Bush vs Gore) asks Plaintiff Kristin Perry what it means to be a lesbian in an opening argument. Olson and Attorney David Boies ( also Bush v. Gore) represented two couples who wanted to marry, Kris Perry and Sandy Stier and Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo.  Boies and Olson argued that Prop 8 is prejudicial and discriminatory and contrary to constitutional principles.  It violates the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Twelve days, 17 witnesses and nine experts later, the trial ends and presiding Judge Vaughn R. Walker prepares for closing arguments the following March.  The ruling:  Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.  However, shortly after the Prop 8 trial concludes, Judge Walker admits to a ten-year relationship with another man. Conservatives criticize his views, saying that gay bias colored his opinions in court.

However, his ruling is upheld.  Another appeal is forthcoming.  Heads are turned to California: riding on this appeal is the outcome for gay rights in California and the entire U.S.. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit sided with Olson and Boies in a 2 to 1 ruling:  Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

What’s Next?

By law, Prop 8ers can ask that the case be heard by a larger panel of the United States Court of Appeals or take it directly to the Supreme Court.  Boies and Olson want the latter.  A Supreme Court win means that more than likely all of the anti-gay laws, especially DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) will become obsolete.

U.S. Supreme Court will decide fate of DOMA cases and Prop 8 this Month

The US Supreme Court will meet November 20th privately to discuss a federal challenge to Proposition 8 and challenges to DOMA. It is considering if it will grant review of AFER’s (American Foundation for Equal Rights) ‘s Perry v. Brown, now Hollingsworth v. Perry’s case.

If it hears the case, it will consider whether Prop. 8 violates the Constitution, paving the way for a Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples. Boies and Olson, co-counsel for AFER, will file written briefs and present oral arguments in the spring of 2013.  By June 2013, the court’s final decision would likely be issued.

If the court does not hear the case, it will let AFER’s court victories go into effect. Marriage equality will return to California within days, according to http://The Supreme Court will decide future of gay marriage cases next month, GAYSTARNEWS, 10/29/12.  An appellate court decision ruled the anti-gay marriage ballot measure was unconstitutional. Passed by voters, it would be made permanent and its opponents could not legally challenge.

Win Likely

Sixteen polls show a majority of Americans support the freedom to marry.  It means tolerance, inclusion, and equal rights for GLBT individuals.  Now that two federal courts have found Prop. 8 unconstitutional, and it’s headed for the Supreme Court ruling, it has a good chance to finally end discrimination.