FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 7, 2012
CONTACT: Anath Hartmann or Elizabeth Ray (703-683-5004)
Group will support efforts to take the issue to the US Supreme Court
WASHINGTON, D.C. — “As sweeping and wrong-headed as this decision is, it nonetheless was as predictable as the outcome of a Harlem Globetrotters exhibition game,” said Brian Brown, NOM’s president. “We have anticipated this outcome since the moment San Francisco Judge Vaughn Walker’s first hearing in the case. Now we have the field cleared to take this issue to the US Supreme Court, where we have every confidence we will prevail.”
San Francisco federal court judge Vaughn Walker ruled in 2010 that Proposition 8 violates the 14th amendment of the US Constitution. If allowed to stand, the ruling could invalidate the marriage laws of 43 states that define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The case is widely expected to go to the US Supreme Court for resolution.
In their 2-1 split decision, the Ninth Circuit opinion [PDF] written by Judge Stephen Reinhardt, held that:
• The proponents of Proposition 8 have the legal standing to appeal the lower court’s ruling, as suggested by an earlier ruling of the California Supreme Court;
• Judge Vaughn Walker did not have a duty to disclose that he was in a long-term committed homosexual relationship throughout the time he was hearing and deciding the case;
• Once “marriage” rights have been granted to same-sex couples by a court, as occurred with the California Supreme Court, they may not be taken away by a state initiative;
• There is no rational basis to support the constitutionality of Proposition 8 and it is thus unconstitutional as violating the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.
“Never before has a federal appeals court – or any federal court for that matter – found a right to gay marriage under the US Constitution,” said constitutional scholar John Eastman, who is chairman of NOM. “The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is the most overturned circuit in the country, and Judge Stephen Reinhardt, the author of today’s absurd ruling is the most overturned federal judge in America. Today’s ruling is a perfect setup for this case to be taken by the US Supreme Court, where I am confident it will be reversed. This issue is the Roe v Wade of the current generation, and I sincerely doubt the Court has the stomach for preempting the policy judgments of the states on such a contentious matter, knowing the lingering harm it caused by that ruling.”
Eastman is the founding Director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence at the Claremont Institute and is a constitutional law professor and former Dean at Chapman University School of Law. A former US Supreme Court Clerk, Eastman has participated in over 60 cases before the US Supreme Court.
To schedule an interview with Brian Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage, or John Eastman, chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, please contact Elizabeth Ray (x130), [email protected], or Anath Hartmann, [email protected], at 703-683-5004.