Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Court Denies LGBT Legal Organizations to Join as Plaintiffs in Federal Prop 8 Case

Today Judge Vaughn R. Walker of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco denied the request of Our Family Coalition; Lavender Seniors of the East Bay; and Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) to join Perry v. Schwarzenegger, a federal lawsuit challenging California's Proposition 8.

"Nothing in the record before the court shows the current parties are incapable of delivering a full record that represents all of the parties interests," the judge said.

A statement by Lambda Legal, the ACLU and the National Center for Lesbian Rights:
On behalf of our clients, we are disappointed that the court did not permit organizations that represent California's diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community to participate in the case as the Court weighs the harms inflicted by Proposition 8. The significance of this case for our entire community is enormous. To exclude the people whose very freedom is at stake is troubling.

Our commitment to restoring marriage for all Californians is unwavering, and we will continue to do everything within our power to secure full equality and justice for LGBT people.

Law Dork says the groups will "be limited to filing amicus briefs, memoranda submitted to the court representing the views of non-parties who have an interest in the outcome of the case. At the trial court level, they will not have the ability to participate in depositions or request discovery. On appeal, they will have the option of requesting time at the oral argument, though, at this point, it is unclear how willing the plaintiffs will be to consent to any potential argument-sharing arrangement. In short, this has moved the LGBT legal organizations to the periphery of a very prominent and potentially landmark case."

Unite the Fight will continue to report on today's hearing. Other issues to be settled: whether or not the case should go to a public bench trial, a first for a same-sex marriage case. Plaintiffs support a trial, while defenders of Prop 8 do not.


  1. Our Family Coalition represents and serves LGBTQ-headed families throughout the Bay Area. We are saddened by this news, and we will continue to fight for full equality for our families.

  2. Thank you for your hard work and commitment. It is very appreciated.

    Though you may not be co-plaintiffs in this high-stakes case, I do hope you will continue to file amicus briefs.

    Again, thank you!