Herrera confident that high court will reach ‘decision that reaffirms our Constitution’s promise of equal protection’
SAN FRANCISCO (Dec. 7, 2012) — The U.S. Supreme Court today granted review to the federal constitutional challenge to Proposition 8, the controversial 2008 ballot measure that eliminated marriage rights for same-sex partners in California. The decision to take up the potentially landmark civil rights case, currently known as Hollingsworth v. Perry, 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 petitions for review for their current term. 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.
The American Foundation for Equal Rights filed the challenge in May 2009 on behalf two California couples who sought to marry: Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, and Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo. Theodore B. Olson and David Boies, who famously squared off in Bush v. Gore in 2000, serve as lead counsel in the case. In August 2009, City Attorney Dennis Herrera intervened as a co-plaintiff in the challenge, renewing San Francisco’s years-long advocacy for the compelling public sector interest in ending marriage discrimination against lesbian and gay couples. At trial, Herrera’s legal team provided extensive evidence that state and local governments derive significant societal and economic benefits when same-sex partners enjoy equal marriage rights-and, conversely, that denying such rights inflicts grave harm on the LGBT community, which in turn harms government and society at large.
“The federal challenge to Prop 8 represents one of the most significant civil rights cases to be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court in decades, and I’m confident that the high court will reach a decision that reaffirms our Constitution’s promise of equal protection under the law,” said Herrera. “I know some will be disappointed because denying rather than granting review would have effectively won the case today for same-sex partners in California. But in taking up the Prop 8 and DOMA cases, the Supreme Court has signaled its readiness to consider the civil rights issue of our time at an opportune moment in history-perhaps not just for Californians, but potentially for all Americans. After nine years of litigating against this injustice, I couldn’t be more proud than to enter this decisive legal battle alongside AFER, Ted Olson and David Boies, the couples they represent, and the incredibly dedicated legal professionals of the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office.”
The case is: Hollingsworth v. Perry, U.S. Supreme Court, Docket No. 12-144.
PDF of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Miscellaneous Order for Dec. 7, 2012