Thursday, November 20, 2008

PFLAG Applauds CA Court's Decision to Review Proposition 8

PFLAG today applauded a decision by the California Supreme Court to review Proposition 8, a ban on same-sex marriage that was approved by voters on November 4. In an order issued on Wednesday, the court agreed to hear a challenge to the proposition as early as March 2009. In the interim, the court has declined to issue a stay. The court challenge was brought by a coalition of organizations working in California, including The American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and The National Center for Lesbian Rights. The City of San Francisco is also challenging the measure.

“The California Supreme Court has taken a second, bold stand for families in the state and we welcome its decision to review Proposition 8,” said Jody M. Huckaby, executive director of PFLAG. “The proper checks and balances role of the judiciary is to ensure that majority rule doesn't undermine minority rights, and the court has an important role to play in that process. Loving couples and their families should be protected, not neglected, under the law. Proposition 8 singled out a specific community of Californians for discrimination and created a category of ‘separate and unequal’ for same-sex couples. That is wrong, and the measure should be struck down by the court.”

In May, California became the second state, following Massachusetts, to grant same-sex couples the right to marry. According to the Williams Institute at the University of California-Los Angeles, more than 102,000 same-sex couples live in the state, and more than 50,000 planned to wed in the next three years. More than 18,000 couples have already been married in the state. Following California’s decision, Connecticut has also recognized marriage equality for lesbian and gay couples.

“The California Supreme Court has blessed our family,” PFLAG parents Ken and Molleen Matsumura of Oakland, California, wrote shortly after the May decision. “All loving parents hope to see their child secure in the love of their chosen partner in life, if the child chooses to marry. That means someone who can visit her in the hospital, tell the doctors what to do if she can't speak for herself, share their earnings and insurance and support each other in building financial security [and] share a name if they so choose.”

The court has invalidated three similar ballot measures in the past. California Attorney General Jerry Brown encouraged the court to review Proposition 8, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger expressed strong support for the original ruling, recognizing full marriage rights for all couples.

“As the court considers the future of Proposition 8, all of us must continue to educate Americans from every state about the legal jeopardy our families face because of measures like these,” said Huckaby. “Our opponents are already targeting other parts of the country for campaigns similar to the one in California. From Massachusetts to California, and right through America’s heartland, there will be a coordinated effort to roll back equality. PFLAG families have a unique role to play in combating those efforts, alongside allies such as those who brought this challenge in California, and we will continue to do so.”

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