NCLR Responds to Anti-Gay Groups in California Marriage Equality Case

(San Francisco, CA, December 3, 2004) — The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and its co-counsel Lambda Legal and the ACLU responded today in the California marriage equality case to briefs filed by anti-gay groups who oppose marriage equality for same-sex couples.

“Our clients seek nothing more, or less, than simple fairness and equality for themselves and their families,” said Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights. “They ask only for the same security and respect that heterosexual couples take for granted. ”

“We want the chance to marry legally because we believe that being excluded from the right to marry sends a harmful message to our daughter Olivia that her parents are inferior and not worthy of equal treatment,” said Lancy Woo, a plaintiff in the case. “We want Olivia to feel safe and happy, as all parents want for their children.”

Superior Court Judge Richard A. Kramer will hear oral arguments in the case on December 22, 2004.

As lead counsel in Woo v. Lockyer, NCLR and its co-counsel are representing 12 same-sex couples who are seeking the full scope of tangible and intangible benefits and responsibilities, as well as the esteemed status, that heterosexual couples are able to obtain through marriage. The lawsuit argues that denying same-sex couples the right to marry is a violation of their state constitutional rights to privacy, freedom of expression and equal protection based on sex and sexual orientation. Equality California and Our Family Coalition are also plaintiffs in the suit.

NCLR’s co-counsel in Woo v. Lockyer include Lambda Legal, the ACLU, Stephen V. Bomse, Richard DeNatale, and Christopher Stoll of Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe LLP, David C. Codell of the Law Office of David C. Codell, and Clyde J. Wadsworth and Dena L. Narbaitz of Steefel, Levitt & Weiss.

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.