Prop 8 Update: Upcoming News and Historical Timeline

Prop 8: Upcoming News and Historical Timeline
Date: Nov. 29, 2012
To members of the news media and interested parties:
I’ve gotten a lot of questions about the U.S. Supreme Court’s much-anticipated decision about whether to grant review in the federal challenge to Proposition 8, to which the San Francisco City Attorney is co-plaintiff along with the American Foundation for Equal Rights.
To help journalists and editors covering this news, I’m writing this to offer: (a) a quick update about what we expect and when; and (b) a chronology of major events from San Francisco’s long legal battle for marriage equality since 2004.

TIMING FOR UPCOMING NEWS On Friday, Nov. 30… The U.S. Supreme Court will meet in the morning in a private conference to consider petitions for review in cases that include the constitutionality of Prop 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act (among several other cases). As early as Friday afternoon (possibly late-morning PST), the court may post a list of cases to which it has granted review. It would not be expected to report at that time cases in which it has denied review, or cases it is holding to consider for review later. If the Prop 8 case (now called Hollingsworth v. Perry) appears on the grant list, it means nation’s highest court is hearing the case. Perry would then be briefed and argued early next year, and likely decided before the end of June 2013. Should the U.S. Supreme Court announce that it is taking up the Prop 8 challenge, City Attorney Dennis Herrera will host a City Hall press conference within a few hours of the announcement to answer questions about the case and describe the forthcoming process. If the Prop 8 case does not appear on that list — or if the court declines to publish a list at all on Friday — it means we will remain uncertain about the Supreme Court’s decision until at least Monday morning, Dec. 3. And because there will be no news, we will hold no news conference on Friday if the Prop 8 case is not on the grant list. On Monday, Dec. 3… The U.S. Supreme Court will post its formal order list between 6:30 and 7:00 a.m. PST. That list will show the cases in which review has been granted, and the cases in which review has been denied. (If a case is held for later consideration, it will not appear on either part of that list.) If the Prop 8 challenge is on the list of cases in which review is denied, our case will be over. The Ninth Circuit ruling striking down Prop 8 as unconstitutional will stand, and same-sex couples will again be able to marry in California (once the Ninth Circuit issues its mandate, which should occur within days). Should the U.S. Supreme Court announce that it has denied review in the Prop 8 case, City Attorney Herrera will host a City Hall press conference within a few hours of the announcement to answer questions, and to invite all San Francisco officials, couples, activists and others to celebrate a long-overdue and decisive victory for marriage equality in California. Should the Prop 8 case appear on neither list, it will mean the case has been held for later consideration by the court. In such a circumstance, the court would offer no formal explanation for its decision. City Attorney Herrera will, in that event, host a City Hall press conference within a few hours of the announcement to answer questions about likely scenarios. Whatever happens, I will promptly provide details about our press conference plans as soon as we have news. TIMELINE OF S.F.’S FIGHT FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY To prepare for their coverage, some news outlets have also requested a historical chronology of major events in San Francisco’s long fight for marriage equality going back to February 2004, when Mayor Newsom first issued same-sex marriage licenses and City Attorney Herrera defended his actions in doing so. Because that procedural chronology is so extensive, I’ll spare you from having to deal with it all in this email. But we’ve compiled a full timeline you can make use of on the City Attorney’s website at… As you probably know, Dennis, Chief Deputy Terry Stewart and I have been around for this whole battle right from the beginning — so we’re happy to answer any further questions you may have. I have also been scheduling advance interviews with City Attorney Herrera; if that’s something you’re interested in, let me know. I hope this email and accompanying chronology help with your planning and reporting for this (potentially) important news. I wish I could offer better foresight into what’s going to happen — no one can, of course — but we’re all keeping our fingers crossed here. Thanks for everything, and feel free to be in touch if you have any questions. Best, MATT DORSEY Press Secretary ————————————————————- OFFICE OF CITY ATTORNEY DENNIS HERRERA San Francisco City Hall, Room 234 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place San Francisco, California 94102-4682 (415) 554-4662 Direct (415) 554-4700 Reception (415) 554-4715 Facsimile (415) 554-6770 TTY