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Supreme Court of the United States

Hollingsworth v. Perry

Last Updated: 5/4/2021


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.


Alliance Defending Freedom and its allies became the sole defenders of Proposition 8, California’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman, when state officials refused to do so. Both a federal district judge and a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the man-woman definition of marriage, approved by more than 7 million California voters, violated the U.S. Constitution. And they did so despite the fact that diverse cultures and faiths have used the same definition for centuries.

Alliance Defending Freedom and its allies asked the U.S. Supreme Court to grant review. The Supreme Court took the case, but declined to decide whether Proposition 8 is constitutional because it concluded that it lacked authority to rule on that question in that case. The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling scrapped the Ninth Circuit’s opinion, but left the district court’s ruling in place.

To protect man-woman marriage as a central building block of society, Alliance Defending Freedom joined this effort.  Men and women bring different but equally important gifts to family life, and children need both a mother and a father.  Preserving marriage as a union of a man and a woman recognizes this basic fact.  Alliance Defending Freedom continues to defend state laws like Proposition 8 that preserve the man-woman definition of marriage. 

Our role in this case

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

Learn More

Legal Documents

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Center for Urban Renewal and Education; Frederick Douglass Foundation; and law professors", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:23:58 PM"}, {"Court": "TrialCourt", "Title": "District court trial transcript - Day 11", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:17:32 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - David Benkof, Robert Oscar Lopez, Doug Mainwaring", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:23:58 PM"}, {"Court": "TrialCourt", "Title": "District court trial closing arguments transcript", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:17:31 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "U.S. Supreme Court opinion on trial broadcast", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:23:59 PM"}, {"Court": "AppellateCourt", "Title": "9th Circuit opinion on discovery", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:12:37 PM"}, {"Court": "TrialCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - Institute for Marriage and Public Policy", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:15:17 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief -Judicial Watch, Allied Educational Foundation", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:23:58 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - Catholic Answers, Christian Legal Society, Catholic Vote Education Fund", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:23:58 PM"}, {"Court": "TrialCourt", "Title": "District court trial transcript - Day 5", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:17:31 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Petitioners’ reply brief", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:23:59 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - Dr. Paul McHugh", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:23:58 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Emergency Application", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:23:59 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - Mark Regnerus, Joe Price, Alan Hawkins, Byron Johnson, Douglas Allen, Catherine Pakaluk, David Eggebeen", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:23:59 PM"}, {"Court": "AppellateCourt", "Title": "En banc petition", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:12:37 PM"}, {"Court": "TrialCourt", "Title": "District court trial transcript - Day 1", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:17:31 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:23:58 PM"}, {"Court": "TrialCourt", "Title": "District court trial transcript - Day 7", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:17:32 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief -Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:23:59 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - High Impact Leadership Coalition", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:23:58 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - Faith Communities", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:23:58 PM"}, {"Court": "TrialCourt", "Title": "Trial brief", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:17:32 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Opening brief of Prop. 8 defenders at U.S. Supreme Court", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:23:59 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - Ethics and Public Policy Center", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:23:58 PM"}, {"Court": "TrialCourt", "Title": "District court trial transcript - Day 10", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:17:32 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - Dr. Daniel N. Robinson", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:23:58 PM"}, {"Court": "TrialCourt", "Title": "District court trial transcript - Day 12", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:17:32 PM"}, {"Court": "AppellateCourt", "Title": "9th Circuit opinion on merits", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:12:37 PM"}, {"Court": "StateSupremeCourt", "Title": "California Supreme Court opinion on standing", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:15:17 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - Matthew B. O'Brien", "FileName": "'brien.pdf", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:23:59 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Petition for certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:23:59 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - Pacific legal Foundation", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:23:59 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - Liberty Counsel", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:23:59 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - Family Research Council", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:23:58 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "Amicus brief - North Carolina Values Coalition; Liberty, Life, and Law Foundation", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:23:59 PM"}, {"Court": "SupremeCourt", "Title": "U.S. Supreme Court opinion", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:23:59 PM"}, {"Court": "TrialCourt", "Title": "District court trial transcript - Day 8", "FileName": "", "Date": "10/30/2017 11:17:32 PM"}]}

Audio and transcript of oral argument before U.S. Supreme Court (3/26/2013): Hollingsworth v. Perry

Video: Marriage symposium sponsored by Alliance Defending Freedom and The Heritage Foundation, 3/19/2013 (34:53)

Quotes from legal experts and analysts who find district court decision in Perry v. Schwarzenegger unpersuasive

Austin R. Nimocks: Court should have upheld heterosexual marriage (USA Today, 2013-06-28)

Alan Sears: The play's the thing (, 2013-04-26)

Caleb Dalton: Stepping across the line to support marriage (, 2013-03-28)

Austin R. Nimocks: The marriage debate: Let democracy work… (Wall Street Journal, 2013-03-25)

Doug Napier: That tail ain't a leg (, 2013-02-19)

Austin R. Nimocks: Mother, country and same-sex marriage? (Washington Examiner, 2013-02-16)

Kellie Fiedorek: Marriage: A relationship unlike any other (, 2013-02-13)

Jim Campbell: Usher in a redefinition of marriage, usher out religious liberty (, 2013-02-12)

Ken Connelly: The goodness of marriage (, 2013-02-11)

Caleb Dalton: Democratic debate on marriage better than judicial commands (, 2013-02-08)

Byron Babione: The opposite of the civil rights movement (, 2013-02-07)

Jordan Lorence: Marriage carries a public purpose (USA Today, 2012-12-10)

Alan Sears: Judges who redefine marriage will answer to ‘We the People’ (Washington Times, 2012-10-29)

Alan Sears: Even the pretense of tolerance is gone (, 2012-06-24)

Alan Sears: Marriage is marriage - Period (, 2012-06-07)

Austin R. Nimocks: Baltimore Sun in your eyes (, 2012-05-29)

Alan Sears: Peering through the smoke of marriage debate (Christian Post, 2012-05-27)

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