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Gay Marriage in Califorania: SCOTUS to Rule on Prop 8

Posted By Edwin Castellanos || 7-Mar-2013

The Case is Submitted! CA Prop 8 at the Supreme Court Today!

If you were following us on Facebook and Twitter today, then you know the Los Angeles family law attorneys at Castellanos & Associates, APLC were closely monitoring today’s historic Supreme Court review of California’s Proposition 8 in the case of Hollingsworth v. Perry.

On Monday, we gave you some historical perspective on the issue currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. The case of Hollingsworth v. Perry arose when a gay couple and a lesbian couple were denied marriage licenses and the couples sued two county clerks and officials in California, arguing Proposition 8 violates their Fourteenth Amendment right to Equal Protection under the law. When state officials originally named in the suit informed the district court they could not defend Proposition 8, supporters of Proposition 8 intervened in the case to defend California’s ballot initiative. The district court held Proposition 8 violated the Constitution, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit affirmed the decision.

Questions Presented:

  1. Whether the Petitioners in the case have legal standing under Article III of the Constitution to argue the case
  2. Whether the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the State of California from defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman

Court observers are suggesting the high court may not be ready to answer the larger question on whether a fundamental right exists for gays and lesbians to marry. Some of the argument today did focus on whether supporters of Proposition 8 had “legal standing” to appeal the case in federal court. If the high court was to narrow their decision to an issue such as “standing,” then it could ultimately lead to a dismissal of the case without ever ruling on the larger issue of gay marriage. However, the issue of “standing” was present at the time the Justices originally accepted to hear the case. Obviously, the Justices accepted to hear the case anyway.

No one really knows how the Court is going to ultimately decide the fundamental issue before it. Meanwhile, tomorrow will be another important day at the Justices prepare to hear United States v. Windsor, which is a challenge to a federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) defining marriage as between one man and a woman.The issue is whether DOMA denies federal benefits to same-sex couples legally married in their states. While Prop 8 deals with whether there should be a recognition of a heightened class under the law, the issue in the DOMA case is much narrower.

If you would like to hear audio from today’s Proposition 8 proceedings you can hear today’s Proposition 8 argument before the Supreme Court at The Oyez Project. Meanwhile, tomorrow promises to be another historic day at the nation’s high court. If you would like to stay informed, please continue to follow the Los Angeles Divorce Lawyers at Castellanos & Associates, APLC on Facebook and at @ladivorcelawyer on Twitter for the latest family law news.

If you need help with a domestic partnership dissolution or same-sex adoption, contact a Los Angeles family law attorney at Castellanos & Associates, APLC today at (323) 655-2105.

Source: HOLLINGSWORTH v. PERRY, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2010-2019/2012/2012_12_144 (last visited March 26, 2013).