Q: How Many Lawyers Does It Take To Overturn Prop. 8?


A: More than what’s listed here. On Thursday, the Supreme Court will convene to hear arguments on both why Prop. 8 should be overturned and why it should stand. Here, we’ve assembled your California Supreme Court dance card, to let you know who’s speaking and what their argument is.

The Lawyer They Represent They’re Going to Argue…
Shannon Minter
National Center for Lesbian Rights Proposition 8 is so expansive in scope that it constitutes a revision, not an amendment to the Constitution and as such, it did not follow the prescribed process for a revision– which requires a 2/3 majority vote from the legislature before it goes to the voters.
Raymond Marshall
Friend-of-the-court briefs from civil rights organizations Groups as diverse as the AFL-CIO, ACLU and American Federation of Teachers all wrote the court in opposition to Prop. 8. Their particular concern is that Prop. 8 makes it very easy for basic rights to be stripped away by simple majority votes. While they support gay rights, their primary concern is that the process and logic of Prop. 8 could be applied to their own interests down the line.
Michael Maroko
Robin Tyler and Dianne Olson Robin and Dianne have married more times than Elizabeth Taylor, but only to each other each time. Their commitment to challenge the courts and legal system set off the 2004 lawsuit which led to (through many various legal hairpin curves) the California Supreme Court marriage decision last May. They are the “human face” of gay marriage and, as such, expect Maroko’s argument to be about fariness and equality.
Therese Stewart
City & County of San Francisco San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom permitted the city to issue marriage licenses to gays and lesbians five years ago, serving as the other main catalyst for the California gay marriage decision. Stewart will be arguing that it’s in the best interest of the city for its residents to be allowed to marry, regardless of gender, and that Prop. 8 fundamentally denies basic civil rights, which can not and should not be left in the hands of the majority.
Chris Krueger
Attorney General Jerry Brown The most expansive and broad argument against Prop. 8 will come from the AG’s office, who did a surprising about face in December, saying that it would not support Prop. 8 and felt that the initiative violated the California Constitution. Brown’s argument is unique in that it argues not on process grounds, but on moral grounds. Essentially, the AG’s office will argue that denying gay people marriage is fundamentally wrong and undemocratic.
Kenneth Starr
The sponsors of Proposition 8 “Is this court really prepared to overturn the will of the voters of California?” This is the theme, Ken Starr will return to again and again. He will point out that the Court has no preexisting case law that permits it to act in such a unilateral action (true) and that voters were not denying a right, but rather, reaffirming traditional marriage (sophistic lie). Starr, as the defendant, has the easiest job: Convince the court to do nothing at all.
The Lawyer They Represent They’re Going to Argue…