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The Wright Perspective℠

Social Commentary from the C-Suite to Main Street℠

A Blog by Gary Wright II

Marriage CA Prop 8 San Francisco answering brief filed today

Monday, October 18th, 2010

Today the city and county of San Francisco filed their answering brief regarding California's Proposition 8 case currently in the 9th Circuit federal court of appeals. Here are some highlights of the brief:

Proposition 8 had a peculiar effect: it removed only the honored stature of "marriage" from same-sex couples, yet altered none of their state constitutional rights to the traditional incidents of marriage, including the right to form a family and raise children.

The rationale that Proponents primarily advance for the classification, the "responsible procreation" justification, does not support it, for the basic reason that Proposition 8 had no effect on the legal regimes governing parentage and childrearing in California. Indeed, Proposition 8 undermines state interests embodied in laws that remain intact after its passage. The "responsible procreation" justification is so far removed from the actual effects of Proposition 8 that it cannot plausibly serve as a rational basis for the measure.

With Proposition 8, California did not create ab initio a category called marriage reserved to opposite-sex couples. Instead, it removed the title "marriage" from one group of couples only - yet left intact the State's constitutional guarantee to gay and lesbian couples that they had a right to form families on the same basis as other couples.

Proposition 8 stripped lesbian and gay couples of equal stature by removing a state constitutional guarantee from them alone, but did not alter their rights to the incidents of marriage.

If Proposition 8 were intended to affect who becomes a parent and how children are raised in this state, surely it would have revised the laws that actually address parent-child relationships. It did not.

As I've said from the beginning, this case is likely headed to the Supreme Court.

Best regards,

-- Gary Wright II

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