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Concluded State Supreme Court

Hollingsworth v. O'Connell

“Just Who do We Think We Are?”


Alliance Defending Freedom and its allies representing defended Proposition 8 in court when state officials refused to do so. The United States Supreme Court took the case but unexpectedly refused to decide whether Proposition 8 is constitutional, saying that did not have a strong enough interest to defend the law in court. That decision left in place a trial court order granting marriage certificates only to the two same-sex couples who filed the lawsuit, as the lawsuit and decision was not a statewide matter.

After the Supreme Court’s decision, California’s State Registrar ordered county clerks to issue marriage certificates to all same-sex couples, although the State Registrar did not have the legal authority to make such an order. California’s Attorney General also threatened to sue clerks who refused to comply with the Registrar’s unlawful order. Because Proposition 8, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman, is still the law of California, Alliance Defending Freedom and its allies asked the Supreme Court of California to order state officials to stop violating it.

Without explanation, the California Supreme Court refused to act. State officials continue to violate Proposition 8, a measure approved by more than 7 million California voters, but future officeholders could still properly enforce it and uphold the will of Californians. Alliance Defending Freedom continues to defend state laws like Proposition 8 that preserve the traditional definition of marriage throughout the nation.

What's at stake

Affirming marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Promoting the importance of both mothers and fathers.

Protecting the voters’ rights to direct social policy concerning marriage and family.

Our role in this case

Alliance Defending Freedom and its allies defended Proposition 8 on behalf of free of charge.