The American Foundation for Equal Rights announced November 17 that the Supreme Court of California has issued an advisory opinion in Perry v Brown, the lawsuit challenging the validity of Proposition 8. The opinion found that the proponent of Prop 8, a coalition of conservative groups under the Protect Marriage.com banner, has legal standing to defend the law than abolished same-sex marriage in the Golden State in 2008. The decision pushes the case significantly forward.
Though the decision is focused on a procedural issue, it paves the way for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to issue a ruling on the merits of the Perry v Brown, answering the question of whether gay and lesbian couples have a fundamental right to marry.
The U.S. District Court found Prop 8 unconstitutional on August 4, 2010, and defendants appealed. Then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and then-Calif. Attorney General (now Gov.) Jerry Brown both declined to appeal the ruling.
“We are pleased that the California Supreme Court has now responded to the Ninth Circuit’s request for advice regarding a question of California procedural law,” said Theodore B. Olson, lead co-counsel for the plaintiffs. “Important questions of federal law remain pending before the Ninth Circuit, including, most significantly, the constitutionality of Proposition 8. We now anticipate a prompt and thorough resolution of those questions by the federal appeals court, which will affirm the trial court’s comprehensive and compelling decision that Proposition 8 violates the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses. We hope that the long wait for justice by gay and lesbian Californians will soon be over.”