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Defenders of marriage in Calif. will appeal dangerous federal ruling

Attorneys defending Calif. marriage amendment unsurprised at judge’s decision, but promise ongoing vigorous defense of marriage, initiative process

SAN FRANCISCO — Attorneys representing will appeal a federal judge’s decision Wednesday that declared California’s voter-approved constitutional amendment protecting marriage as the union of one man and one woman unconstitutional under the U.S. Constitution. Alliance Defense Fund attorneys are litigating the lawsuit, Perry v. Schwarzenegger, together with lead counsel Charles J. Cooper and ADF-allied attorney Andrew Pugno, who represent the official proponents and campaign committee of California’s Proposition 8.

“In America, we should respect and uphold the right of a free people to make policy choices through the democratic process--especially ones that do nothing more than uphold the definition of marriage that has existed since the foundation of the country and beyond,” said ADF Senior Counsel Brian Raum.

“We will certainly appeal this disappointing decision.  Its impact could be devastating to marriage and the democratic process,” Raum said. “It’s not radical for more than 7 million Californians to protect marriage as they’ve always known it. What would be radical would be to allow a handful of activists to gut the core of the American democratic system and, in addition, force the entire country to accept a system that intentionally denies children the mom and the dad they deserve.”

In May 2009, attorneys representing two men and two women who were denied marriage licenses filed suit against the new amendment, challenging its constitutionality. Amendment defenders were allowed to intervene in the lawsuit in July. Closing arguments in the trial were held on June 16.

“The majority of California voters simply wished to preserve the historic definition of marriage. The other side’s attack upon their good will and motives is lamentable and preposterous,” Raum said.  “Imagine what would happen if every state constitutional amendment could be eliminated by small groups of wealthy activists who malign the intent of the people.  It would no longer be America, but a tyranny of elitists.”

“What’s at stake here is bigger than California,” Pugno added. “Americans in numerous states have affirmed--and should be allowed to continue to affirm--a natural and historic public policy position like this. We are prepared to fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.”

A recent study conducted by Yale University supports the position that children, all things being equal, should be raised with their own mom and dad: 81 percent believe that society should do everything possible to encourage the ideal of children being raised by their mom and dad, 57 percent believe the law should encourage that children be raised by a mom and a dad, 68 percent worry about the decline of the traditional family, and 70 percent believe that a man-woman relationship is important in teaching children about how men and women interact.

  • Pronunciation guide: Raum (Rom), Pugno (Poon-yo)


ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.