Attorneys defending Calif. marriage amendment available to media during trial
SAN FRANCISCO — Attorneys representing ProtectMarriage.com will be available for media interviews before and after hearings each day of the trial that begins Monday in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, a lawsuit that seeks to overturn the will of California voters by striking down a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Alliance Defense Fund attorneys are co-counsel in the lawsuit together with lead counsel Charles J. Cooper and ADF-allied attorney Andrew Pugno, who represents the official proponents and campaign committee of Proposition 8.
“In America, we should respect and uphold the right of a free people to make social policy choices through the democratic process,” said ADF Senior Counsel Brian Raum. “If a handful of activists can void a constitutional amendment adopted by 7 million Californians, we have forfeited the very core of the American democratic system--especially in this case, where the people of California affirmed something that predates America itself.”
Last May, attorneys representing two men and two women who didn’t like the outcome of the vote on Proposition 8 filed suit against the new amendment, challenging its constitutionality. Amendment defenders were allowed to intervene in the lawsuit in July and filed their brief in opposition to the lawsuit in December.
Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that attorneys prosecuting the lawsuit cannot have access to private campaign communications that they requested from Proposition 8 proponents. The court found that “the intrusion on First Amendment interests is substantial” because information truly needed by those who filed the suit can be obtained from other sources. It determined that no compelling reason existed to grant the demand to the private documents, the release of which “would likely have a chilling effect on political association and the formulation of political expression.”
“This case is as much about whether our government is of, by, and for the people as it is about marriage,” Raum said. “Just imagine how it would change our democracy if every state constitutional amendment could be eliminated by small groups of wealthy activists. It would no longer be America, but a tyranny of elitists.”
“Monday, the people of California go on trial,” Pugno added. “Our legal team is working as hard as possible to win this trial, but we are prepared to fight with every ounce of energy all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.”