Speedy End Sought in Prop 8 Legal Challenge

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Hearing For Summary Judgment Tomorrow

SAN FRANCISCO, Tuesday, October 13, 2009 -- Tomorrow there will be a hearing in Federal District Court in San Francisco on ProtectMarriage.com's motion requesting summary judgment to avoid a trial in the latest challenge to Prop 8. An equal protection suit was filed in May on behalf of two same-sex couples. They are represented by two high-profile attorneys, Theodore Olson and David Boies -- famous for representing George Bush and Al Gore, respectively, in the post election lawsuit that decided the 2000 Presidential election.

Olson and Boies are challenging Prop 8 using a precedent from a Colorado case where it was determined that the vote was motivated by discrimination and hatred. In a decision by the trial judge earlier this month, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ordered the Prop 8 campaign to turn over all internal strategy documents and emails to the challengers who are fishing for indications of bigotry and hatred.

The challengers also contend that there is no public interest in traditional marriage, and therefore the only reason anyone would deny same-sex couples equal access to marriage is because of discrimination. In August, the Obama Administration also claimed there is no "legitimate government interests" in traditional marriage in their challenge to the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) .

The dispute over the definition of marriage actually comes down to two conflicting and competing views:
  1. "Redefined Marriage" – the public committed relationship between two loving adults for their own benefit (as seen by the activist Supreme Court justices of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa and California), or,
  2. Traditional Marriage – the institution that joins a man and a woman who engage in reproductive acts and that establishes public accountability to the children that result from that relationship.
One definition has an obvious public interest that coincides with the common interest of every child without exception in the marriage of his or her parents. Through the Stand with Children coalition, Catholics for the Common Good Institute is building a network of trained marriage advocates to carry this crucial debate forward. It is not enough to just protect traditional marriage. It is critical to build an army to actually promote the centrality and integrity of marriage for children and society. We must take the offense to rebuild a common understanding of the true meaning of marriage and the family.

We have posted a letter from Andy Pugno, the general counsel for ProtectMarriage.com who has led us through all of the legal aspects of restoring the definition of traditional marriage in California.

Message from ProtectMarriage.com General Counsel
Andy Pugno

October 13, 2009

Today I want to give you a preview of what we'll be doing to defend the validity of Proposition 8 in federal court tomorrow.

The court will hold a hearing on our request that the legal challenge against Prop 8 be decided without having to go through a full trial, called a “motion for summary judgment.”

On ruling upon our motion, we are hopeful that the judge will dismiss the case entirely. But even if the case is not entirely dismissed now, the judge's ruling could settle some of the legal issues in our favor before trial. In that situation, we would proceed to trial solely on the remaining issues, according to the aggressive schedule set by Judge Walker in July.

Let me be very clear: We are up against a high-powered team of lawyers. Unbelievably, their leading argument is that traditional marriage holds no societal benefit whatsoever, notwithstanding the fact that every civilized society in recorded history – from the ancients to the American States – has recognized marriage as a uniquely opposite-sex relationship.

Not only that, but they also claim Californians voted to restore marriage for only a man and a woman solely out of bigotry, hatred and animosity towards gays and lesbians. When you think it through, their reasoning is astounding: They condemn as bigoted not only the majority of Californians who voted for Prop 8, but also an overwhelming majority of Americans who favor gay rights but oppose same-sex marriage—decent people from all walks of life, all political parties, and all races and creeds.

They will stop at nothing to win the case on these preposterous claims.

But since the entire legal defense of Prop 8 is upon our shoulders, we have to rely on generous contributions from regular folks like you to overcome these claims and win this legal battle with logic and reason. Please donate for the Prop 8 legal defense now.

On Wednesday we will argue that, for our opponents to prevail in this case and strike down Prop 8, they have a heavy burden of proof. We believe that to carry their burden they must demonstrate there is no “rational basis” for continuing to preserve marriage in its traditional form.

The special status of traditional marriage is much more than “rational.” Traditional marriage clearly serves the public interest in society's own perpetuation through responsible procreation and the rearing of the next generation. The state has a vital interest in promoting, whenever possible, a child's upbringing within a stable, enduring family environment with their biological parents.

We sincerely hope that our rational and carefully-formed legal arguments will persuade the judge to grant “summary judgment” so that a trial becomes either unnecessary or significantly narrowed. Whatever Wednesday's outcome, we will continue to relentlessly defend the people's right to protect traditional marriage. I hope we can count on your financial help in covering our legal expenses as we go into battle this week.


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