gay_cityhall_gavel.jpgThe city of San Francisco and two same-sex couples who challenged Proposition 8 have urged a federal appeals court to uphold a trial judge’s ruling that struck down California’s ban on same-sex marriage.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is currently considering an appeal by sponsors of Proposition 8 of a ruling in which U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker said the voter initiative violated the federal constitutional rights of equal treatment and due process.

A panel of the appeals court is due to hear arguments on the case in early December.
In briefs filed on Monday, lawyers for the city and for the two couples asked the court to reject the Proposition 8 sponsors’ appeal.

Lawyers Theodore Olson and David Boies, representing the couples, cited U.S. Supreme Court cases that called marriage a fundamental right and “the most important relation in life.”

“Fourteen times the Supreme Court has stated that marriage is a fundamental right of all individuals,” the attorneys wrote.

The couples’ attorneys also argued, “There is no legitimate interest that is even remotely furthered by Proposition 8’s arbitrary exclusion of gay men and lesbians from the institution of marriage.”

The couples’ 125-page brief was filed shortly before a midnight deadline Monday.

The sponsors of Proposition 8 and their committee, Protect Marriage, have argued that the fundamental right to marriage doesn’t encompass same-sex unions because the definition of marriage is that it is between a man and a woman.

They argued in a brief filed last month that Walker “invented” a right to gay and lesbian marriage.

In a separate response brief filed on Monday, the city of San Francisco argued that Proposition 8 is “peculiarly irrational under California law” because California law treats gay and lesbian parents the same as heterosexual parents.

Proposition 8 was enacted by state voters in 2008 as an amendment to the state Constitution and provides that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

Walker ruled in August that the state constitutional provision is invalid because it violates the U.S. Constitution.

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

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