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Rights Groups

California Supreme Court to Hear Oral Arguments in Prop 8 Legal Challenge on March 5

Attorney General, Governor, and nation’s top civil rights groups agree: Invalidate Prop 8

California Supreme Court announced today that it will hear oral
arguments on Thursday, March 5, 2009 in the Proposition 8 legal
challenge. The National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, and
the ACLU-with support from civil rights groups, religious
organizations, labor unions, and legal scholars-argue that Proposition
8 is invalid because the people of California have established strict
safeguards that prohibit the underlying principles of the California
Constitution from being changed by a simple majority vote. By taking
away a right only from one group, Proposition 8 violates the most basic
principle of our government: that all people are entitled to equal
treatment under the law.


Attorney General Jerry Brown is also asking the Court to invalidate
Proposition 8 on the ground that certain fundamental rights, including
the right to marry, are inalienable and can not be put up for a popular

On November
10, 2008, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger stated that he hoped the Court
would overturn Proposition 8. On CNN, he said of Proposition 8's
passage, "It's unfortunate, obviously, but it's not the end, I think
that we will again maybe undo that, if the court is willing to do that,
and then move forward from there and again lead in that area."

November 19, 2008, the California Supreme Court agreed to hear the
legal challenges to Proposition 8 and set an expedited schedule.
Briefing in the case was completed on January 21, 2009.
The California Supreme Court must issue its decisions within 90 days of oral argument.

January 15, 2009, 43 friend-of-the-court briefs urging the Court to
invalidate Prop 8 were filed, arguing that Proposition 8 drastically
alters the equal protection guarantee in California's Constitution and
that the rights of a minority cannot be eliminated by a simple majority
vote. The supporters 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.

May of 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 initiative has ever successfully changed the
California Constitution to take away a right only from a targeted
minority group. Proposition 8 passed by a bare majority of 52 percent
on November 4.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, and the ACLU
filed this challenge on November 5, representing Equality California,
whose members include many same-sex couples who married between June 16
and November 4, 2008, and six same-sex couples who want to marry in
California. The California Supreme Court has also agreed to hear two
other challenges filed on the same day: one filed by the City and
County of San Francisco (joined by Santa Clara County and the City of
Los Angeles, and subsequently by Los Angeles County and other local
governments); and another filed by a private attorney.

Serving as co-counsel on the case with NCLR, Lambda Legal, and the ACLU
are the Law Office of David C. Codell, Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP,
and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.

The case is Strauss et al. v. Horton et al. (#S168047). For more information, go to:

works to achieve equality and secure legal protections for LGBT people.
To improve the lives of LGBT Californians, EQCA sponsors legislation
and coordinates efforts to ensure its passage, lobbies legislators and
other policy makers, builds coalitions, develops community strength and
empowers individuals and other organizations to engage in the political

National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization
committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay,
bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation,
public policy advocacy, and public education.

Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full
recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals,
transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation,
education and public policy work.

The American Civil Liberties Union is America's foremost advocate of
individual rights. It fights discrimination and moves public opinion on
LGBT rights through the courts, legislatures and public education.

Calla Devlin Communications Director
415.392.6257 x324
Mobile: 415.205.2420
Jason Pérez Howe
Public Information Officer
Lambda Legal
213.382.7600 x247
Mobile: 415.595.9245
Rebecca Farmer
Media Relations Director
ACLU of N. California
415.621.2493 x374
Mobile: 415.269.6275
Vaishalee Raja
Communications Director
Equality California
Phone: 323.661.2071 x203
Mobile: 916.284.9187

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