9th Circuit Rules Prop 8 Unconstitutional and Denies Intervention to Imperial County Clerk
Contact: Lori Sanada, Advocates for Faith & Freedom, 951-304-7583
SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 7, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- Today, 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. Today, 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.
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.