Thursday, February 21, 2013

Arguments Propsed in AFER's Brief.

In the brief the AFER lawyers begin by quoting Brown v. Board (Integrating Schools).
...that gay and lesbian individuals are different, less worthy, and not equal under the law. That “generates a feeling of inferiority” among gay men and lesbians—and especially their children— “that may affect their hearts and minds in a way un¬likely ever to be undone.” Brown v. Bd. of Educ., 347 
They continue to take the proponents attempts to defend marriage as being designed solely for responsible procreation as being the position that truly demeans the institution.  Their failure to include "love" in their defense of marriage is noted.

Quoting Lawrence v. Texas (The Supreme Court decision declaring Sodomy Laws unconstitutional) they argue that the defenders of Prop. 8 have created such a limited definition of marriage that it

...reflects a complete "failure to appreciate the extent of the liberty at stake," Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558. 567 (2003), not to mention matters such as love, commitment and intimacy that most Americans associate with marriage.  As Proponents see it, marriage exists solely to serve society's interest; it makes no sense to speak of an individual's right to marry.

Since the proponents of Prop 8 have narrowed the definition of marriage, the brief argues, it is in fact they who are diminishing its value and socially accepted scope.  The Plaintiffs agree with what the supporters of the proposition only give lip service to, that marriage is "a unique, venerable and essential institution.  They simply want to be part of it..." 

The only real question is can the State exclude gay men and lesbians from the public institution of marriage? Can they "deprive their relationship -- their love -- of the respect, and dignity and social acceptances, that heterosexual relationships enjoy[?]" 

Proponents, says the the brief "have not once set forth any justification any justification [during the entire litigation] for discriminating against gay men and lesbians by depriving them of this fundamental civil right."

In the brief there is much reference to the supposed harm to children used to promote the resolution.  It argues that to the contrary,  "Prop 8 inflicts pain and indignity on the 40,000 Califormian Children being raised by same sex couples."  It also cites the preponderance of studies that have established there is no significant difference in the success in school or mental health of children raised by an opposite sex couple or a same sex couple.

"The purpose of Proposition 8 is solely to stigmatize gay men and lesbians and enshrine inequality in the California Constitution."  They cite Romer v. Evans where the Supreme Court found that a Colorado state measure attempting to limit/overturn local laws giving LGBT rights was unconstitutional.

Confronting the idea of "traditional" marriage, the document says,"If a histoty of inequlaity is enouh to justify itself..." we would still live under Jim Crow laws and interracial  marriage would still be prohibited.  Citing a bit of shameful history from the court's past, and perhaps making a powerful point to the Chief Justice the brief uses the dissenting opinion penned by Justice Harlan,  "In respect to civil rights, all citizens are equal under the law."  (Plessy v. Fregusun 1896 Harlan, J. dissenting.)

The brief then lays out the history of marriage equality in California from Proposition 22 which  was adopted in 2000 defining marriage as only between a man an a woman.  In May 2008 CA Supreme Court struck this down saying it "violated due process and equal protection."  The court ordered the State of California to issue marriage licenses to any two people regardless of gender.  Later that year Prop 8 was passed. The marriages that occurred between the two were declared legal. 

More on this tomorrow... which happens to be our 5th anniversary.

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