SAN FRANCISCO — Defenders of marriage in California asked a full panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit Tuesday to review a smaller panel’s 2-1 decision against the state’s constitutional amendment that protects marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Seven million California voters approved the amendment through Proposition 8 in November 2008.
Alliance Defense Fund attorneys are part of the legal defense team for ProtectMarriage.com, the banner organization for the official proponents and campaign committee of Proposition 8.
“The people of California deserve to have their marriage amendment defended before the full appeals court,” said ADF Senior Counsel Brian Raum. “The panel’s ruling mischaracterized the purpose of marriage, failed to faithfully and fairly interpret the Constitution, and disregarded every relevant appellate and Supreme Court precedent in American history. Marriage is too valuable to be redefined by two San Francisco judges in a case funded by Hollywood millionaires.”
On Feb. 7, two judges on a three-judge 9th Circuit panel concluded in Perry v. Brown that California’s marriage amendment--Article I, Section 7.5 of the state constitution--is unconstitutional in part because the court believed claims that voters sought to “target a minority group.”
“The idea that Californians--of all people--sought to ‘send a message that gays and lesbians are of lesser worth,’ as the two-judge decision claims, is simply absurd,” explained lead counsel Charles J. Cooper with the Cooper & Kirk law firm. “Voters from all walks of life, political parties, races, and creeds supported Proposition 8.”
Cooper said a 2006 decision by New York’s highest court made the point well: “Until a few decades ago, it was an accepted truth for almost everyone who ever lived, in any society in which marriage existed, that there could be marriages only between participants of different sex. A court should not lightly conclude that everyone who held this belief was irrational, ignorant or bigoted. We do not so conclude.”
- Pronunciation guide: Raum (RAHM’)
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.