The American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and the National Center for Lesbian Rights filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief late tonight backing the federal challenge to Proposition 8 led by the American Foundation for Equal Rights and attorneys Theodore Olson and David Boies.
“Proposition 8 violates the federal guarantees of equal protection and due process,” the brief states. “Proposition 8 denies same-sex couples the right to marry in a unique historical context in which the denial can only be deemed a declaration of inequality.”
"We are pleased to have the support of the ACLU, Lambda Legal and NCLR, which have brought inspiring leadership and legal expertise to the cause of ensuring all Americans are treated equally under the law," said Foundation Board President Chad Griffin. "This case is about the denial of fundamental Constitutional rights, and its significance is underscored by the united front presented by the coalition backing this case."
The coalition that has led the legal fight against Proposition 8 is now formally supporting the federal challenge. The ACLU, Lambda Legal and NCLR led the battle in the State Supreme Court to overturn Proposition 8 after the November 2008 election. They also joined the City and County of San Francisco, which filed an amicus brief last week, in spearheading the successful litigation that led to the California Supreme Court in May 2008 recognizing marriage as a fundamental right guaranteed to all Californians under the state constitution.
A hearing on the case is scheduled in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, on July 2. The suit was filed last month and also calls for an injunction against Proposition 8 until the case is resolved, which would immediately reinstate marriage rights to same sex couples.
Also last week, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is named in the suit in his capacity as the state’s chief executive, filed papers with the court that did not dispute Proposition 8’s unconstitutionality and called for swift action by the courts to ensure people’s constitutional rights are protected. Two weeks ago, Attorney General Jerry Brown, who is named in the suit in his capacity as the state’s chief legal officer, filed papers that called Proposition 8 unconstitutional.
The suit was filed by two same-sex couples who wish to be married but, because of Proposition 8, have been denied marriage licenses.
“This unequal treatment of gays and lesbians denies them the basic liberties and equal protection under the law that are guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution,” the suit states.