Primer for 9th Circuit Oral Arguments

Prop 8 Appeal Hearing to be Televised: Monday, December 6

by William B. May

SAN FRANCISCO, December 3, 2010 -- On Monday, December 6, I will be in the courtroom in San Francisco as attorneys present oral arguments before the U.S. Ninth Circuit for the appeal of the radical trial decision to overturn Prop 8. As Archbishop Joseph Kurtz implied, this case could be the Roe v. Wade of marriage.  We have made a national appeal for prayer. If you have not joined the effort, please do so today.

Key Issues

What is key to this case and the issue of same-sex "marriage" that most people miss is that there are two conflicting definitions of marriage at play.

  • Some think marriage, including Judge Walker, that marriage is a committed relationship for the private interest of adults
  • However, we know marriage unites a man and a woman with each other and any children that result from their union

Read about this and the unique reality-based  arguments that CCG presented to the 9th Circuit in its amicus brief:

Part 1 Summary- 
Prop 8 Voters Rational for Defining Marriage to Recognize Reality

Part 2 Summary -
Religious liberty - Pope's Words Used to Challenge Walker


The oral arguments will be televised by C-Span from 10am –noon on Monday (SEE VIDEO). Cable news and some other networks or local affiliates may carry it as well. It will be interesting to listen to the questions that the justices ask the plaintiffs’ attorneys as well as our own. It could give an indication of the reasoning they may apply in deciding the case.

Remember, this case is only about one issue: whether the voters of California were rational or they were bigoted in passing Prop 8 (defining marriage as between a man and a woman in the state constitution). One hour will be spent on this issue equally divided between our side and the plaintiff’s.

Before the arguments on the actual appeal are made, a hearing on standing will take place during the first hour. The question is whether even has a right to represent the voters and make the appeal. During that period, Imperial County will also seek standing for the appeal.

The governor and the state attorney general have the responsibility to defend what the voters have put into the constitution, however they have refused to do their sworn duty in this case. Even though Judge Walker gave ProtectMarriage standing during the trial, he argues that we do not have standing on appeal.

If we are denied standing, it will be the end of the road for this case. Judge Walker’s decision will become the law in California, and Prop 8 will be removed from the California Constitution clearing the way for same-sex “marriage”.

We have a very strong case for being granted standing. The U.S. Supreme Court has establish precedent that if a governor refuses to defend a state law, the legislature would have standing to do it (Karcher v. May, New Jersey). In the case of an initiative, the voters are the legislature.

Further, California courts have given groups organized to defend a law or ballot measure standing in related legal challenges. In fact, the California Supreme Court gave standing in the challenge that was mounted just after the passage of Prop 8 on the claims that it was not a valid constitutional amendment and passage was a discriminatory violation of rights.

The decision will be made early next year. Please continue to pray during the deliberation period. Prayers and information (English), (Spanish)

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