Lawyers opposing Proposition 8 ask Supreme Court to pass on appeal

On Friday, Ted Olson, David Boies, and the other lawyers representing the gay and lesbian plaintiffs in Perry v. Brown, the court case challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8 in California, filed a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court not to review the case. The discriminatory Prop 8, Olson and Boies argue, has already been ruled unconstitutional multiple times, and those rulings have been in line with the Supreme Court precedent.  

Proposition 8, passed during the November 2008 election, overturned a May 2008 decision from the California Supreme Court to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage in the state. The vote meant that, for the first time, same-sex couples who were able to celebrate marriages had that freedom taken away. Judge Vaughn Walker ruled this unconstitutional on August 4, 2010, and in February 2012, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirmed the ruling. 

In late July, proponents of Proposition 8 petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the case, arguing that the Ninth Circuit's ruling conflicts with previous court rulings.  

If the Supreme Court does not hear Perry v. Brown federally, then the Ninth Circuit's ruling will stand, Prop 8 will be overturned, and same-sex couples will be able to marry in California once again. 

Here's an excerpt from the filing: 

The decision of the court of appeals is correct and reflects a straightforward application of this Court's decision in Romer v. Evans [a 1996 Supreme Court ruling that found it unconstitutional when Colorado residents passed a ballot initiative banning cities from passing LGBT-inclusive anti-discrimination laws]. ... While there are circumstances that might make review of this obviously important issue attractive at this time - particularly the possibility of resoliving this case in conjunction with the challenges to DOMA - those considerations must be weighed against the substantial and irreparable harm the period of additional review would impose on Plaitiffs and those situated similarly to them.

If the Court did take the time to review the case, the brief says, it would be little more than a waste of their time and an unnecessary delay in the lives of same-sex couples in California, who so desperately need the protections that marriage would afford them. The document reads:

Each day Plaintiffs' rights to marry are denied is a day that can never be returned to them - a wrong that can never be remedied. The Ninth Circuit's decision to vindicate those rights in accordance with this Court's precedents does not warrant this Court's review.  

After the Supreme Court returns from its summer recess, it will decide which cases it will review next year. In addition to the Prop 8 case, four different challenges to the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal respect for marriages between same-sex couples, have also been flagged for Supreme Court review. 

Read all about state-level court cases like Proposition 8 at our new State Legal Cases page.