Waymon Hudson

Prop 8 Court Challenge: Judge says San Fran In, LGBT Orgs Out

Filed By Waymon Hudson | August 19, 2009 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics, Politics, The Movement
Tags: ACLU, California, David Boies, David Herrera, Judge Vaughn Walker, Lambda Legal, NCLR, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, Prop 8, San Francisco, Ted Olson

Judge Vaughn Walker has denied the request of several LGBT legal groups, including the ACLU, Lambda Legal and NCLR, 6a00d8341c730253ef0120a504066e970b-800wi.jpgto join Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8. He also approved the City of San Francisco's request to join the case. Ted Olson and David Boies will now be joined by San Francisco City Attorney David Herrera as the lawyers in the challenge to Proposition 8.

The judge approved the City of San Francisco's request due to "a government interest that wasn't represented by any of the current parties." He said the LGBT organizations, however, "would needlessly delay the case's resolution."

The trial has been set for January 11, 2010.

Statement from the LGBT orgs after the jump...

From the various LGBT groups asking to join in the case:

LGBT Community Groups Disappointed By Court's Denial To Join Federal Prop 8 Case

SAN FRANCISCO -- Today Judge Vaughn R. Walker of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco denied the request of Our Family Coalition; Lavender Seniors of the East Bay; and Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) to join Perry v. Schwarzenegger, a federal lawsuit challenging California's Proposition 8.

A statement by Lambda Legal, the ACLU and the National Center for Lesbian Rights:

On behalf of our clients, we are disappointed that the court did not permit organizations that represent California's diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community to participate in the case as the Court weighs the harms inflicted by Proposition 8. The significance of this case for our entire community is enormous. To exclude the people whose very freedom is at stake is troubling. Our commitment to restoring marriage for all Californians is unwavering, and we will continue to do everything within our power to secure full equality and justice for LGBT people.

And from the San Francisco City Attorney's Office:

City Attorney Herrera says his office is well-prepared to help 'put anti-gay discrimination on trial based on the facts'

SAN FRANCISCO (Aug. 19, 2009) -- U.S. District Court Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker this morning granted the City and County of San Francisco's motion to intervene in the federal challenge to Proposition 8, the state constitutional amendment that eliminated the fundamental right of marriage for gay and lesbian citizens in California. In granting the intervention, Walker held that the City demonstrated a governmental perspective and interests, and is the only party -- including the State and the Governor -- that is willing and able to present that perspective and interest. The Court directed the City Attorney to work together with the Attorney General and confer on ways to present the facts relevant to the government's interests relating to Proposition 8 in a manner that will not be duplicative and will avoid delay.

In response, City Attorney Dennis Herrera issued the following statement:

"We're gratified that San Francisco has been granted a key role in the federal challenge to Proposition 8," said Herrera. "In terms of our unique public sector perspective and the evidence we've already developed, we think the City is an extremely well-prepared co-plaintiff in the kind of trial Judge Walker envisions. We are ready to help put anti-gay discrimination on trial based on the facts, and our office has the experience and expertise to assist in aggressively doing that."

There is a lot more information coming out of California, so we'll keep you updated as we get more in from the various parties involved!

Also- Attorney Ted Olson is profiled in today's NYT.

(Big h/t to Chris Geidner at LawDork.net - Be sure to check out his blog for all things LGBT & the Law!)

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Re first paragraph -- the ACLU is not an LGBT legal group. It merely represents LGBT groups.

You're right, Patricia. But they have lumped themselves in with other "LGBT Community Groups" in their press statements in this case.

battybattybats battybattybats | August 20, 2009 1:21 AM

So Gay peoples orgs dont represent gay peoples interests but the city does? Or is it that gay peoples interests are unimportant in a case on gay peoples rights but the possible effects on city is important?

I don't know a lot about USA Law but that seems really odd at best.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | August 20, 2009 5:37 AM

I do all I can to limit my contacts with the law. My first contact was when I got convicted for disturbing the peace at a demo in the Denver FBI office demanding an investigation of the murder of those little girls at the Birmingham baptist church bombing in ’63. A few years later I helped draft a message to Seattle authorities telling them it was their ‘constitutional duty’ to shut down the 5 freeway so 50,000 of us could take a leisurely stroll from U-District to the Federal courthouse and listen to speeches about Cambodia, Kent State and Jackson State.

Other than that and watching out for cops when I cruised I'm not really into legal matters. I’m all for strategically sound legal confrontations with bigots. But everything about the handling of this case, as opposed to its stated goals, raises hairs on the back of my neck.

I wish some of our legal eagles would weigh in with their opinions on the maneuvering going on. Do we have a good chance of winning? It seems so if all our legal groups wanted in unless they wanted in to make sure we weren’t blindsided. Or is it just a turf war?

Or is it just a turf war?

It's in part a turf war, apparently the team doing the current lawsuit (AFER) originally tried to get buy-in and involvement from the "LGBT community groups", and those groups were against having this lawsuit at all. AFER appears to fear that a group that doesn't want marriage equality challenged in the federal courts right now might not do the best job of challenging marriage equality in the federal courts.

Chris at LawDork 2.0 has pretty good coverage of this fuss.