News


Federal court trial under way on constitutionality of state's same-sex marriage ban

Ban 'stigmatizes gays and lesbians,' lawyer argues

The federal trial on the constitutionality of California's same-sex marriage ban began in San Francisco this morning, with attorneys for both sides offering contrasting views on the institution of marriage.

A lawyer for two same-sex couples who want to marry opened the trial this morning by telling a judge, "Marriage is the most important relation in life."

Attorney Theodore Olson argued that California's same-sex marriage ban "stigmatizes gays and lesbians and says 'Your relationship is not the same'" as those of heterosexual couples.

Today was the start of a two-week trial on a lawsuit in which a lesbian couple from Berkeley and a gay couple from Burbank claim that California's ban, enacted by voters as Proposition 8, violates their federal constitutional rights.

U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker will decide the case without a jury. The outcome is certain to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Olson, a former U.S. solicitor general now acting as a private lawyer, noted to the judge that his opening remark on the importance of marriage was a quotation of the Supreme Court's words in a different case.

Charles Cooper, a lawyer for the sponsors of Proposition 8, argued a different view of marriage, telling the judge that it is "a pro-child social institution."

Cooper said restricting marriage to opposite-sex unions is justified because the basic purpose of marriage is "to promote naturally procreative sexual activity in a stable and enduring relationship" that will nurture children.

When asked by Walker whether same-sex marriage would harm traditional marriage, Cooper said the long-term outcome of a change could only be predicted, but argued that a change would not be worth the risk of destabilizing the traditional institution.

Cooper said, "The people of California are entitled to wait before they make a fundamental change and alteration" in traditional marriage.

The trial is the nation's first on whether a ban on same-sex marriage violates the U.S. Constitution.

Witnesses in the next two weeks will include the four plaintiffs and a array of experts called to the stand by both sides to testify about the historical definition of marriage, its economic effects and whether children fare better in marriages between a man and a woman.

The proceedings got under way shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court this morning blocked the planned YouTube broadcast of the trial as authorized by Walker. The court said in a brief order that the stay will remain in effect until Wednesday while the court gives further consideration to an appeal in which the sponsors of Proposition 8 are seeking to prevent the

video coverage.

Walker is awaiting the guidance of the high court.

But he said, "In this day and age of technological advance and the importance of the public right of access to the courts, it's very important to have the judiciary work to achieve that access."

The broadcast would have been the first of a federal trial in western states.

Same-sex marriage advocates responded quickly to the order blocking the broadcast.

The group Courage Campaign noted that more than 140,000 people had signed a letter from the group to Judge Vaughn Walker, who is presiding over the trial, asking that the proceedings be televised.

"While we are disappointed that the Supreme Court is postponing public access to the most important civil rights trial in a generation, the opportunity still remains for the nation's highest court to open up this trial so the American people can witness history," Courage Campaign chair Rick Jacobs said in a prepared statement.

Court officials had planned to allow members of the public to watch the trial remotely at a handful of federal courthouses throughout the country. Today's viewings have been canceled.

Viewings had been scheduled at the James R. Browning U.S. Courthouse on Seventh Street in San Francisco and at federal courthouses in Pasadena, Calif., Portland, Ore., Seattle, Wash., and Brooklyn, N.Y.

About 100 people gathered early this morning outside the federal courthouse on Golden Gate Avenue in San Francisco where the trial is taking place.

Most showed up to oppose the proposition, and carried signs reading "Separate is unequal" and "Marriage is a basic civil right."

A handful of those gathered supported the ban, and one carried a sign reading, "Marriage = One man + One woman."

The trial began at 9 a.m.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Dominic
a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 11, 2010 at 9:17 am

Once again special interest groups (leftist gays) and liberal lawyers and judges think they know what's best for the people who have already voted against the redefinition of marriage in our state and 38 other times around the country. This is a farce and CA supreme court should have decided not hear this case. This has nothing to do with equality...It has to do with extreme left gay values being forced on society, it is wrong and the majority of Calfornians have already voted and the law supports the majority until liberal judges push their opinions and change exisiting laws...

I am outraged at this waste of tax payer expenses and you should be too!


Like this comment
Posted by SteveP
a resident of Parkside
on Jan 11, 2010 at 9:22 am

SteveP is a registered user.

Excellent job, Supremes! Justice prevails and the media circus has been mitigated. [Portion removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]
--yet another loss for the perverse agenda.


Like this comment
Posted by dublinmike
a resident of Dublin
on Jan 11, 2010 at 9:57 am

dublinmike is a registered user.

Due to the highly-charged nature of this trial, along with the concept that testimonies may be changed as a result of cameras in the courtroom, I believe that cameras should not be allowed. Also, I can conceived of the idea of a mistrial filed by the loosing side due to the distraction of cameras.

Dominic, this isn't about some leftist gays, et al, this is about denying citizens of this country a fundamental right. How about not allowing Catholics to marry outside their faith? Or, allowing anyone named Hatfield from marrying a McCoy?

With regards to "special interests," your definition is inherently biased. Any groups that bring a ballot before the people are special interests.


Like this comment
Posted by letsgo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2010 at 10:39 am

"Any groups that bring a ballot before the people are special interests."

That's why the whole ballot iniative sturcture is completely flawed and had destroyed California,


Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 11, 2010 at 11:40 am

A reported record of the proceedings: Web Link

Such a trial is what makes AMERICA GREAT!

Hopefully, the US Supreme Court will allow a camera in the courtroom for the benefit of Americans.


Like this comment
Posted by PToWN94566
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2010 at 12:08 pm

PToWN94566 is a registered user.

Once again I'm shocked to read some persons posts about people thinking "they know what's best for the people who have already voted against the redefinition of marriage." This isn't about doing what's best for heterosexuals or extremely religious people- it's about doing what's best for gay people and letting them be recognized in society.

Dominic- I have no interest in forcing my values on society. If some person doesn't like me just because I'm attracted to the same sex, that is their problem not mine. I'm comfortable with myself. And again (this is probably the millionth time I've asked this on here) but who gave you the authority to judge what is right and what is wrong? And how does it directly effect you if a gay couple wed? For the short time that gay marriage was legal, did you have some epiphany or some higher being(s) spoke to you? Or did your quality of life change when gay marriage was legal, and if so, it's "gay peoples'" fault?

I think not.


Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 11, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Jan 11, 2010 at 12:57 pm

This is a federal case, Dominic, in which it is claimed that the CA constitution, as amended by the vote of the people, is unconstitutional. That is the ultimate purpose of the federal court system, and as long as you have the resources to pursue a complaint, you have the right to do so. It has nothing to do with the CA supreme court which, when a separate case was heard, could not block implementation of Prop. 8 because of the ballot proposition process in this state which has made California almost ungovernable.

This is your tax dollars spent in the most fundamental way -- securing the rights of its citizens.

Stacey's web link is well worth reading. Thank you for that.


Like this comment
Posted by LOL
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Stacey,

Newsweek? That's your comment? I suppose you must be using irony and really stand with conservatives, those that know Newsweek isn't the bastion of truth it thinks it is. Thanks for the chuckle.


Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 11, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

LOL,

I guess you missed that the author is one of the lawyers in the case who had served under both Bush and Reagan and not a regular Newsweek journalist.


Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 11, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

You see, the Constitution is a bedrock document. It isn't open to selective "cafeteria" interpretation where support for a position can be picked and chosen. It has to be taken whole. One can't say they support the principles in the Constitution like the First Amendment and then ignore the Fourteenth Amendment.


Like this comment
Posted by Convictions vs politics
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2010 at 2:14 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 11, 2010 at 2:49 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"

"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."


Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 11, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

It is unfortunate that the above post was removed. It was a great display of how poorly the direct experiences of the founders of this country is understood by those who claim to inherit their legacy.


Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 11, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Web Link THE CONSERVATIVE CASE FOR SAME SEX MARRIAGE by TED OLSON, ATTORNEY

A very powerful and convincing PATRIOT SPEAKS!

Now you know why American is GREAT!


Like this comment
Posted by dublinmike
a resident of Dublin
on Jan 11, 2010 at 6:54 pm

dublinmike is a registered user.

Cholo, the other thing about Ted Olson was it was him and his partners that wanted the Prop 8 to be shown on YouTube. That's the odd thing.


Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 11, 2010 at 8:17 pm

What you have is a self-proclaimed Conservative that understands the intent of the founding fathers. EQUAL PROTECTION AND DUE PROCESS for ALL CITIZENS under the 14th Amendment!

OLSON & BOIES ARE LAYING THE FOUNDATION FOR JUDGE VAUGHN SO THAT PROP 8 IS OVERTURNED!

FOR THOSE STRUGGLING, CHOLO WILL PROVIDE EXPLANATIONS OF THE LAW FROM TIME TO TIME...tee hee hee, tee hee hee...

Hopefully, the US Supreme Court will say that it is OK with uTube on Wednesday!

hahahahahahahahahaa...

as for ruth, i'll get back to her later!






Like this comment
Posted by Rat Turd
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2010 at 8:31 pm

They cannot marry as it is a convenent with god not some law. Civil arrangement yes, marriage no.


Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 11, 2010 at 8:49 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Legal marriages are civil arrangements. Government cannot declare them as otherwise because it has no power to respect an establishment of religion.


Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 11, 2010 at 8:54 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

The founders had the direct experience with government-sanctioned religion and wanted to keep government the h*ll out of their religion. Americans these days have no experience with it so think somehow it is ok to use the power of government to dictate to everyone else whatever the religion flavor of the day is.


Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 11, 2010 at 9:11 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

When the power of government is used to impose a religion's tenant on the populace, that undermines that religion's own protection from having tenants from someone else's religion imposed on it.

Don't want Sharia law here? Don't use government to impose church law.


Like this comment
Posted by interesting in ptown
a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 11, 2010 at 9:17 pm

The very very conservative lawyer Ted Olson, arguing against Prop 8 addresses the necessity of this case belonging in the courts.

"That’s why we have courts, to protect those who are discriminated against, when their children can’t go to school because of their skin color. We would not need a constitution if we left everything to the political process. We’d just let the majority prevail and that’s a good thing about democracy, but it’s not so good if you are different, new. It causes gays and lesbians unrelenting pain. We have the courts to take our worthy, upstanding citizens who are being hurt to be protected by the courts. That’s why we are here today.”


Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 11, 2010 at 9:38 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

"Fine, let’s take a vote. Who wants fish for dinner?...Yeah, democracy ain’t so fun when it (Word removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)you, huh?” - SMDS


Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 12, 2010 at 10:44 am

Web Link ...bible full of characters who practice polygamy...Dr. Nancy Cott, Harvard Professor of History testifies in SF today!

Tip of the Day: Try not to think of this trial as having anything to do with G_d. This trial puts the 14th Amendment center stage. Fans of Equal Protection & Due Process will have an opportunity to see the US Constitution in action and the American system of justice live. Yup, you will have the chance to understand why people fight wars to defend liberty and the pursuit of happiness!

For the disgruntled types, have a tea party while AMERICAN JUSTICE does its job!

ps I'll continue to do my best to provide explanations as needed on the finer points of US Constitutional Law!

signed,

Cholo


Like this comment
Posted by Me
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 12, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Wow, Stacey and Cholo and myself all in agreement on this one! It is kind of uncomfortable!


Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jan 12, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Dick Cheney supports same-sex marriage in the US. How does that grab you?

i think that the supporters of Prop 8 are all on the verge of a nervous breakdown...


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Ridgeview Commons

on Apr 26, 2017 at 3:21 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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