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NCLR Analysis: Ninth Circuit Decision Keeps the Focus on California

In a long-awaited decision, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that stripped the right to marry from same-sex couples in California, is unconstitutional. Judge Stephen R. Reinhardt authored the majority decision, which was joined by Judge Michael Daly Hawkins. The third judge, N. Randy Smith, dissented. The majority affirmed the August 2010 ruling by retired United States District Judge Vaughn R. Walker—but on a...

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NCLR Analysis: Oral Argument in Proposition 8 Appeal Sets the Stage for Ninth Circuit Ruling

Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments on two issues in Perry v. Brown, the federal court challenge to Proposition 8. In that case, two same-sex couples are challenging Prop 8, the 2008 ballot measure that stripped the right to marry from same-sex couples in California.  Following a historic trial that took place in January 2010, now-retired Chief District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that Prop 8 is unconstitutional. That ruling has been on hold while the...

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NCLR Analysis: Release the Prop. 8 Tapes

On August 29, 2011, U.S. District Court Judge James Ware will hear arguments about whether to unseal the video recordings of the historic trial in Perry v. Brown, the federal court challenge to Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that stripped the freedom to marry from same-sex couples in California. After a three-week trial in January 2010, now-retired Chief District Judge Vaughan Walker issued a decision in August 2010, holding that Prop 8 was based on anti-gay animus and blatantly...

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NCLR Legal Analysis: President Obama Defends Justice by Rejecting DOMA

Today brings momentous news from President Barack Obama and the federal Department of Justice about the discriminatory and offensive so-called “Defense of Marriage Act,” or DOMA. This morning, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that, at the urging of the President, as well as based upon Mr. Holder’s own assessment, the Department of Justice will no longer defend Section 3 of DOMA—the section that prohibits the federal government from recognizing legal marriages between same-sex couples....

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Analysis of Ninth Circuit Oral Argument in Perry v. Schwarzenegger (Federal Prop 8 Challenge)

Today was the long-awaited oral argument at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the federal court challenge to Proposition 8. The Ninth Circuit is the federal appeals court that covers California. Today’s argument was heard by a panel of three judges, who will decide whether to uphold District Court Judge Vaughn Walker’s August ruling that Prop 8 is unconstitutional. The argument ran for almost two and a half hours, covering two basic questions: Do the proponents of...

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NCLR Analysis: Perry v. Schwarzenegger Ruling

Today’s decision in Perry v. Schwarzenegger is nothing short of a grand slam legal victory for LGBTQ people. In a comprehensive and crystal clear opinion, Judge Walker held that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. Judge Walker reached this conclusion for two reasons: because Proposition 8 denies individuals the fundamental right to marry without a compelling reason to do so, violating the Due Process clause of the federal constitution, and because it violates the Equal Protection clause by...

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NCLR’s Legal Director Shannon Minter on Perry v Schwarzenegger Proceedings, Day 12

Today was the final day of testimony in Perry v. Schwarzenegger. Like every day before it, today was remarkable. The majority of the day was spent on finishing up the cross-examination of David Blankenhorn, an expert witness for the defendants. As he did yesterday, renowned attorney David Boies absolutely nailed the examination. Blankenhorn did nothing to help himself, fighting Boies’s yes-or-no questions at every turn even when Boies was simply laying a basic foundation with uncontroversial...

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NCLR’s Legal Director Shannon Minter on Perry v Schwarzenegger Proceedings, Day 11

Today was one of the most dramatic days of the trial, with startling admissions by the proponents’ two expert witnesses: Professor Kenneth Miller, testifying about the political power of gay people, and David Blankenhorn, testifying about the purposes of marriage. The morning began with the conclusion of David Boies’s cross-examination of Professor Miller. Boies confronted Prof. Miller with several of Prof. Miller’s own earlier writings, which were highly critical of the ballot initiative...

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NCLR’s Legal Director Shannon Minter on Perry v Schwarzenegger Proceedings, Day 10

Today was another exciting day as the Prop 8 trial heads into the home stretch. The plaintiffs finished their case today, and defendants got started with their first witness, Professor Kenneth Miller. The plaintiffs’ attorneys closed their case by playing excerpts from two simulcasts that were broadcast to gatherings of evangelical voters during the Prop 8 campaign. These simulcasts were sponsored and paid for by ProtectMarriage.com, the official Yes on 8 campaign organization. In the portions...

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NCLR’s Legal Director Shannon Minter on Perry v Schwarzenegger Proceedings, Day 9

After two weeks of powerful and often emotional evidence, the plaintiffs presented their last live witness today. On Monday, after playing some videos of deposition testimony, the plaintiffs will rest their case, and then the defendants will have their turn. Typically, at the end of all witness testimony, the attorneys present closing arguments. This morning Judge Walker announced that there will be a two week break before closing arguments to give the parties a chance to review the evidence....

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