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Friday, December 7, 2012

Proposition 8: U.S. Supreme Court Will Hear Appeal on Gay Marriage (Update)

Posted By on Fri, Dec 7, 2012 at 2:20 PM


Update 2:10 p.m.: City Supervisors respond to U.S. Supreme Court decision on Prop. 8. Read at the bottom

Original story 12:29 p.m.: The U.S. Supreme Court just announced that it will review the federal constitutional challenge to Proposition 8, California's ban on gay marriage, as well as the Defense of Marriage Act.

That means same-sex couples in California will have to wait even longer before they can tie the knot. The LGBT community had hoped the court would have rejected the Prop. 8 appeal, which would have allowed same-sex marriage to resume in California.

However, the decision to take up the controversial case was posted without comment on the high court's website a short time ago, after justices met earlier this morning in private conference to consider a slew of gay marriage cases. These cases could be decided by late June 2013.

"The decision means at least four of the nine justices agreed to take up the case, which will be briefed and argued early next year, and likely decided before the end of June 2013," said Matt Dorsey, spokesman for the City Attorney's Office, which led the challenge of Proposition 8.

The San Francisco City Attorney's Office will hold a press conference later this afternoon. Check back for more details.

Meanwhile, Mayor Ed Lee released the following statement:

Together, we have taken this fight for civil rights all the way to our nation's highest court. And, we will continue the fight until all families are treated equally so gay and lesbian couples are allowed to marry and are accorded the same basic rights as all Americans. I am optimistic that the Supreme Court will reaffirm, as the Ninth Circuit Court did, that California's Proposition 8 is unconstitutional.

City and state leaders gather at City Hall this afternoon - KATE CONGER
  • Kate Conger
  • City and state leaders gather at City Hall this afternoon

The American Foundation for Equal Rights filed a challenge to Prop. 8 in 2009. In February, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Prop. 8 unconstitutional because it "serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California and to officially reclassify their relationship and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples."

Prop. 8 supporters appealed to the Supreme Court, keeping gay marriage in limbo in California. The state has put gay marriage on hold, waiting to see if the court would hear the case.

When the Supreme Court does hear the case next year, the pressure will be on the American Foundation for Equal Rights legal team to prove that Prop. 8 is discriminatory and is not rationally related to any government purpose. In essence, their lawyers will need to convince the judges that the gender of two spouses is none of the government's damn business.

Should the court rule Prop. 8 unconstitutional, then all same-sex marriage bans across the nation will be deemed unconstitutional. States would still have the choice to legalize same-sex marriage, but would not be able to ban it outright.

Update: 2:10 p.m.: City Supervisors and state leaders gathered inside City Hall in front of a throng of reporters to discuss today's Supreme Court decision that it will rule on Prop. 8.

Supervisor Christina Olague expressed her frustration over the matter, saying "it's really unfortunate that we're still here, fighting this fight." Supervisor David Campos, who is openly gay, agreed, but noted that no matter what happens at the Supreme Court level, this case will be "historic."

"Our hope is that they do the right thing and choose to be on the right side of history," Campos said. "Same-sex marriage is going to be a reality in this country. The people are far ahead of the courts. There will be equality for every member of our society. If the court doesn't do the right thing, the people will make sure the right thing happens."

And finally, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi chimes in:


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About The Author

Kate Conger

Kate Conger has written for SF Weekly since 2011.


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