On Thursday, the California Supreme Court issued its long-awaited opinion on whether the citizen proponents of Prop 8 have standing to defend the Prop 8 law in federal court if the state’s elected representatives (specifically the governor and attorney general) refuse to do so. Not unexpectedly, the state court said it believes the citizen Prop 8 proponents have the right to represent the people and the state’s interests in this narrow circumstance. Shannon Minter, Legal Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, thinks the opinion grants too much power to citizen activists and fears it dangerously opens the door for other initiative attacks on minority rights.
Meanwhile – Ted Olson and David Boies, the attorneys for the American Foundation for Equal Rights bringing the federal constitutional challenge to Prop 8, and the plaintiffs are happy the case can finally move forward. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has asked for briefs on the California court’s opinion to be filed by Dec. 2. The Prop 8 proponents also have asked to consolidate the main appeal of Judge Walker’s ruling that Prop 8 is unconstitutional and the proponents’ challenge to Judge Ware’s refusal to vacate Walker’s ruling because Walker is gay. The AFER plaintiffs said OK as long as any arguments can be heard on Dec. 8, which is when AFER will argue in support of Judge Ware’s decision to release the Prop 8 trial tapes. (Many thanks to Prop 8 Trial Tracker for helping me summarize these key points.)
Robin Tyler and Diane Olson – the married lesbian couple who filed the first lawsuit in 2004 to win marriage rights for same sex couples and were the first couple in Southern California to marry in 2008- are also happy the case can finally move forward. KNBC asked them for their reaction to the California high court’s opinion.