Tyrannical 9th Circuit Rules Prop 8 Unconstitutional

February 8, 2012 05:29

Yesterday, the Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals decided that the people of California had no right pass an initiative that limits marriage to one man and one woman. At the same time, the Court of Appeals denied a petition to intervene that was filed by Chuck Storey, County Clerk for the County of Imperial.

The question of who has a right to defend Proposition 8 has been at the center of the litigation since neither the Governor, Attorney General or other named defendants would defend the initiative adopted by a majority vote of the people of California. After the official campaign proponents were granted the right to intervene in the District Court, questions were raised as to whether they would have sufficient standing to appeal the case and ultimately take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Amidst those concerns, Advocates for Faith & Freedom filed a petition to intervene on behalf of the County of Imperial and in defense of the law in order to provide a governmental defendant willing to ensure that the case is decided by the higher courts. When the District Court overturned Proposition 8, it also denied intervention to the County. Along with the official proponents, the County and its deputy clerk appealed the decision to the Ninth Circuit.

On January 4, 2011, the Ninth Circuit certified the question of the official proponent’s standing under California law to the California Supreme Court. Concurrently, the Ninth Circuit denied intervention to the County of Imperial and one of its deputy county clerks for insufficient standing. The Ninth Circuit left open the question of whether an elected county clerk rather than just a deputy county clerk would have sufficient standing. Meanwhile, Chuck Storey was elected as the Imperial County Clerk in November 2010, was sworn into office on January 3, 2011 and thereafter filed a petition to intervene in February 2011.

Represented by Advocates for Faith & Freedom, County Clerk Chuck Storey sought to intervene in order to ensure that the people’s vote is defended all the way to the Supreme Court and in coordination with the official proponents. Since that time, the California Supreme Court determined that the official proponents should have sufficient standing under Article III of the U.S. Constitution to defend the initiative.

Today, the Ninth Circuit issued its final ruling declaring Proposition 8 unconstitutional, while at the same time determining that the official proponents have sufficient standing to defend the law. It also denied County Clerk Chuck Storey the right to intervene.

County Clerk Chuck Storey will now seek review from the U.S. Supreme Court in conjunction with official proponents. Clerk Storey, who serves as the Commissioner of Civil Marriage stated, “I took an oath of office to uphold the California Constitution, and Proposition 8 is part of the Constitution.”

Robert Tyler, General Counsel for Advocates for Faith & Freedom, commented, “In the event the U.S. Supreme Court were to disagree with the Ninth Circuit’s determination of the proponent’s standing, Clerk Storey’s petition for writ of certiorari will provide the U.S. Supreme Court with an alternative basis in which to hear this case because Clerk Storey is a governmental official who has Article III standing to defend the law.”

Advocates for Faith & Freedom contends that not only was the Ninth Circuit in error for denying intervention to Clerk Storey, the decision to overturn Proposition 8 was contrary to long held constitutional principles.

Robert Tyler, said, “Twice the voters of California have voted to preserve marriage between men and women, and twice they have been challenged in the Courts. Clerk Storey’s action is intended to help ensure that the voice of the people is heard in the courts.”

The people of California first voted to preserve marriage between one man and one woman when it adopted Proposition 22 in 2000. The California Supreme Court overturned this initiative in 2008 and declared a new right to same-sex marriage. The voters quickly responded with the successful passage of Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment. The Ninth Circuit ruled in opposition to the People of California:

“By using their initiative power to target a minority group and withdraw a right that it possessed, without a legitimate reason for doing so, the People of California violated the Equal Protection Clause.”

“This case is not only important for influencing nationwide law regarding marriage,” Jennifer Monk, Associate General Counsel for Advocates added, “But it is also important for the people of California to have their vote respected.”

Both Mr. Tyler and Ms. Monk are available for comment regarding Clerk Storey’s anticipated writ of certiorari and the ongoing defense of Proposition 8.

“This is a stunning assault on democracy and California’s initiative process,” explained Karen England, Executive Director of pro-family group Capitol Resource Institute and a key leader in the passage of Proposition 8. “Well over 50% of California voters approved Proposition 8; today their will was overturned by a panel of arrogant judges who want to impose their political agenda on the rest of us.”


The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling is not the end of the road for Proposition 8.


“The truth will always prevail and we are confident that the traditional-and true-definition of marriage will be upheld by the Supreme Court,” stated England. “The voice of the people must be heard and respected. The future of California and American families depends upon the sanctity of traditional marriage. It’s time for the courts to recognize marriages’ critical role in society and protect it.”


“The decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold Judge Walker’s radical decision overturning Prop 8 comes as no surprise,” said Catholics for the Common Good President William B. May.


“We always knew this case would be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Now that the Ninth Circuit has rendered its decision, the case can finally move to the U.S. Supreme Court where it will be decided on sound legal arguments rather than the emotional appeals by those trying to obliterate the only institution that unites children with their moms and dads.”


“The author of the decision, Judge Stephen Reinhardt, is one of the most overturned judges in the most overturned court in the U.S.”


According to Prop 8 Legal Defense General Counsel Andy Pugno, this decision “is completely out of step with every other federal appellate and Supreme Court decision in American history on the subject of marriage.” ProtectMarriage.com will immediately file its appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.


“It is outrageous that judges continue to disregard the will of 7 million voters who voted to protect the centrality and integrity of marriage for children and society,” May said.


Federal District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker presided over a show trial about marriage in which plaintiff’s counsel trotted out witness after witness with emotional arguments in a PR attempt to re-argue Proposition 8.


“Failing to disclose that the judge himself was similarly situated as the plaintiffs (in a long-term committed relationship with a same-sex partner), Walker could find no rational reason for the voters to define marriage between a man and a woman and concluded they were bigoted and discriminatory,” said May.


“To reach his judgment about the voters and his decision to strike down Prop 8, he created a new definition of marriage as merely the public recognition of a committed relationship for the benefit of adults. However, the voters of California know that marriage is much more than that. It is the reality that unites a man and a woman with each other and any children born from their union. This is what marriage is; that is what it does. It is a reality that can only be recognized by law and never changed.”


About Advocates for Faith & Freedom:
Advocates for Faith & Freedom is a nonprofit law firm based in California that is providing its legal services to County Clerk Chuck Storey without charge. Two of Advocates’ attorneys, Robert Tyler and Jennifer Monk, were significantly involved in the litigation defending the Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund and the late Senator Pete Knight when Proposition 22 was unlawfully ignored by Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2004 and same-sex marriage licenses were issued from San Francisco City Hall.

Catholics for the Common Good works for a more just society. It is the sponsor of the Stand with Children Project, a movement promoting marriage and family as an imperative of social justice.


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