FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | November 13, 2006
LGBT Community's Lawyers Ask Court to Decide Whether Same-Sex Couples Can Legally Wed
(San Francisco, CA, November 13, 2006) — Today, attorneys representing same-sex couples, Equality California, and Our Family Coalition asked the California Supreme Court to decide whether barring same-sex couples from marriage violates the California Constitution.
The couples and organizations are represented by lead counsel from the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Heller Ehrman LLP, and the Law Office of David C. Codell. This case is being considered together with the other marriage cases under the title In re Marriage Cases.
In April 2005, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard A. Kramer ruled that barring same-sex couples from marriage unconstitutionally discriminates on the basis of sex and violates the fundamental right to marry. The California Court of Appeal overturned Judge Kramer's ruling in a 2-1 decision last month, saying that California may continue to bar same-sex couples from marriage. The petition filed today asks the California Supreme Court to reverse the Court of Appeal decision.
More than 250 religious and civil rights organizations, including the California NAACP, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, California Council of Churches, Asian Pacific American Legal Center, and National Black Justice Coalition, filed amicus briefs supporting marriage equality for same-sex couples.
In 2005, the California Legislature passed AB 849, the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act sponsored by Equality California, which would have ensured equal treatment under the law by allowing same-sex couples to marry in California. Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill.
The California Supreme Court has sixty days to rule on the petition, and may extend that period by not more than an additional thirty days.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.
Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.
The American Civil Liberties Union is America's foremost advocate of individual rights. Its Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Project fights discrimination and moves public opinion on LGBT rights through the courts, legislatures and public education.
Equality California is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots-based, statewide advocacy organization whose mission is to achieve equality and civil rights for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians. Please visit our website at http://www.eqca.org/.