SAN FRANCISCO — Defenders of marriage in California will appeal Tuesday’s ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit that upheld a district judge’s decision against the state’s constitutional amendment protecting marriage. The ProtectMarriage.com legal defense team, including Alliance Defense Fund attorneys, expressed no surprise that the lawsuit over the amendment, which protects marriage as the union of one man and one woman, would progress beyond the three-judge 9th Circuit panel as has been long predicted by parties on both sides.
ProtectMarriage.com is the banner organization for the official proponents and campaign committee of Proposition 8, which 7 million California voters approved in November 2008. In its decision, the 9th Circuit affirmed the right of the official Proposition 8 proponents to continue to defend the amendment on appeal.
“No court should presume to redefine marriage. No court should undercut the democratic process by taking the power to preserve marriage out of the hands of the people,” said ADF Senior Counsel Brian Raum. “Americans overwhelmingly reject the idea of changing the definition of marriage. Sixty-three million Americans in 31 state elections have voted on marriage, and 63 percent voted to preserve marriage as the timeless, universal, unique union between husband and wife.”
“We are not surprised that this Hollywood-orchestrated attack on marriage--tried in San Francisco--turned out this way. But we are confident that the expressed will of the American people in favor of marriage will be upheld at the Supreme Court,” Raum added. “Every pro-marriage American should be pleased that this case can finally go to the full 9th Circuit or the U.S. Supreme Court. The ProtectMarriage.com legal team’s arguments align with every other federal appellate and Supreme Court decision on marriage in American history.”
Two of the three 9th Circuit judges 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 argument that marriage as the union of a man and a woman is so irrational that it is inexplicable on any grounds other than animosity and antipathy is baseless,” explained lead counsel Charles J. Cooper with the Cooper & Kirk law firm. “Those pushing this argument condemn as bigoted not only a majority of Californians, but also an overwhelming majority of Americans from all walks of life, political parties, races, and creeds. The point was made best by New York’s high court: ‘The idea that same-sex marriage is even possible is a relatively new one. 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.’”
A stay that prevents marriage licenses from being issued to same-sex couples in California is still in effect. In addition to ruling on the amendment, the 9th Circuit panel also denied a ProtectMarriage.com motion to have the district court ruling thrown out on the grounds that then District Judge Vaughn Walker should have recused himself.
- 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.