Trial date set for Federal Prop 8 challenge, advocacy groups denied access to case

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Proposition 8 Federal CaseA trail date of January 2010 has been set for hearings to begin on a Federal challenge to Proposition 8, which passed in November of 2008 preventing California from recognizing same-sex marriages.

About 30 lawyers crowded into a San Francisco courtroom hearing the challenge to California’s Proposition 8 same-sex marriage ban, a high-risk venture that will set court policy for years, if it reaches the U.S. Supreme court.

Ted Olson, the lawyer whose Supreme Court arguments put President George W. Bush in the White House, and David Boies, his opponent in the 2000 case, joined forces to overturn Prop. 8, arguing precedents showed they could win.

Gay rights groups had avoided federal court in favour of a state-by-state battle for fear conservative Supreme Court justices would deny their cause. A handful of U.S. states, mostly in the northeast, have allowed same-sex marriage, but the overwhelming majority forbid it.

In respectful tones, Olson told federal district Judge Vaughn Walker participation by gay groups and social conservatives would only slow the case.

Walker, clearly eager to focus and speed arguments, denied the groups’ motions but added the city and county of San Francisco to the case as a government representative. Calif. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signalled his administration will not actively join the case.

Advocacy groups against Prop 8 that were denied to the case include Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the American Civil Liberties Union. Campaign for California Families which supports Proposition 8 was also denied access to the case.

Post by ILO on 08/20/09 at 2:20 pm