EQCA
Equality California
Prop. 8 on Trial | Marriage

Prop. 8 on Trial

Summary

Perry v. Schwarzenegger (now known Hollingsworth v. Perry) was filed by attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies in May 2009 on behalf of two same-sex couples in California who had been denied a marriage license. 

In 2010, U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that Prop 8 is unconstitutional. Proponents of Proposition 8 appealed Judge Walker's decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which, in February 2012, upheld Judge Walker's decision, finding that Prop 8 violated the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Equality California joined with LGBT legal groups to file amicus (or friend-of-the-court) briefs in the case asking Court to strike Prop 8, supporting a motion to allow same-sex couples to marry while the case is on appeal and urging the court to reject a motion by backers of Prop 8 to vacate Judge Walker's ruling simply because he has been in a relationship with another man for 10 years. 

Read Judge Vaughn Walker's decision here.
Read the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision here
Have questions about the case? Check out our FAQ.
View a timeline of the case here.
Learn more about Equality California's work to restore the freedom to marry here.

Timeline

  • June 2013 The United States Supreme Court dismisses the final appeal in Hollingsworth v. Perry, better known as the Proposition 8 case, restoring the freedom to marry in California.

  • March 2013 The Supreme Court of the United States hears oral argument in the case.

  • December 2012 The Supreme Court of the United States announces that it will review the case.

  • June 2012 The Ninth Circuit denies Prop 8 backers' request to rehear the case.

  • February 2012 The federal Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rules 2-1 that Proposition 8, the California constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2008 that stripped the freedom to marry from same-sex couples, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution.

  • November 2011 The California Supreme Court issues an opinion finding that Proposition 8 proponents did have standing to defend the law. The Ninth Circuit panel ask the parties to submit briefs pertaining to the California Supreme Court ruling. The panel has not yet ruled on the either the standing issue or the constitutionality of the law.

  • June 2011 The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California denies the motion to vacate, ruling that a judge's sexual orientation and relationship status do not disqualify him or her from hearing a case involving constitutional rights held by all individuals.

  • May 2011 Lambda Legal, NCLR, Equality California and the ACLU of Northern California file a friend-of-the-court brief urging the court to reject Prop 8 proponents' motion.

  • April 2011 Prop 8 proponents file motion to vacate Judge Walker's ruling because he has been in a relationship with another man for 10 years.

  • March 2011 Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Equality California and the ACLU of Northern California jointly file a friend-of-the-court brief with the Ninth Circuit supporting the plaintiffs' request that the Court allow same-sex couples to marry while the case is on appeal. The Court declines.

  • February 2011 California Supreme Court agrees to answer the question.

  • January 2011 Three-judge panel asks the California Supreme Court to clarify whether California law grants initiative proponents a particularized interest in the validity of a measure they put on the ballot that might entitle them to appeal a ruling that the measure is unconstitutional if state officials do not appeal.

  • December 2010 Hearing before a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

  • August 2010 Victory! Judge Walker strikes down Prop 8, finding it violates due process and equal protection rights. Prop 8 defendants filed an immediate appeal of the decision.

  • February 2010 LGBT Legal Groups submit friend-of-the-court brief, urging Court to strike Prop 8.

  • January 2010 Trial begins.

  • August 2009 Judge Walker denies the LGBT groups intervention in the case. Lambda Legal continues to provide information and advice to plaintiffs’ counsel behind the scenes and remains as an amicus.

  • August 2009 Lawyers for the City and County of San Francisco also request permission to intervene to offer evidence similar to that proposed by plaintiffs' counsel. Party counsel on both sides offer evidence on the full range of issues, as requested by Judge Walker, and oppose the LGBT groups' motion to participate.

  • July 2009 Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) ask permission to intervene on behalf of three LGBT community organizations with broad knowledge of the harms to same-sex couples and their families from marriage discrimination, and offer to present evidence about those harms and the other issues identified by Judge Walker.

  • July 2009 Judge Walker calls for presentation of evidence and factual findings following a trial on numerous important issues including the purported justifications for Prop 8 and the effects of the initiative for same-sex couples and their families, and for married, different-sex couples and their families. Counsel for plaintiffs and the intervenor-defendants (Prop 8's proponents) say the case instead should be resolved quickly in the district court based on legal briefs without evidentiary findings.

  • June 2009 Judge Vaughn R. Walker grants a motion to intervene by proponents of Prop 8 and declines to rule on a request by plaintiffs for an immediate injunction staying the marriage ban.

  • May 2009 Attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies file Perry in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of two same-sex couples who had been denied a marriage license earlier that month.