The Equal Justice Society and more than forty public interest organizations represented pro bono by the law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP today filed an amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals arguing on behalf of gay and lesbian plaintiffs in Perry v. Schwarzenegger.
In August, Judge Vaughn Walker, of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, ruled that Proposition 8 ‘s ban on same-sex marriage violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause as not rationally related to any legitimate governmental interest.
Supporters of Proposition 8 appealed the decision to the Ninth Circuit, which is set to hear arguments regarding the measure’s constitutionality on December 6. The State of California decided against appealing.
The amicus brief argues that Proposition 8 excludes an entire class of people – gay men and lesbians – from the long-standing institution of marriage, pushing them instead to the inherently unequal category of domestic partnership.
As the Supreme Court announced in Brown v. Board of Education, “separate but equal is inherently unequal.” Because gay men and lesbians are denied the opportunity to marry, they suffer extreme societal harm. Indeed, their families are stigmatized, deprived of benefits married couples enjoy and are vulnerable to increased discrimination.
“The Equal Justice Society lauds Judge Vaughn’s thoughtful and carefully reasoned opinion,” said Reggie Shuford, EJS’s Director of Law and Policy. “We sincerely hope that the Ninth Circuit will follow suit.”