Queer Town: Proposition 8 Lawsuit Moves Forward, Motion to Dismiss Denied

In San Francisco this morning, Proposition 8 supporters asked U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker to dismiss the federal lawsuit that seeks to overturn the anti-gay marriage ballot measure that became law after California voters passed it almost a year ago.

Prop. 8 protestor at Los Angeles Mormon Temple in November, 2008.
Prop. 8 protestor at Los Angeles Mormon Temple in November, 2008.
Patrick Range McDonald

Walker, though, has denied that motion this afternoon. The federal lawsuit to overturn Proposition 8 will move forward, with a trial set for January 11, 2010.

The lawsuit was brought by the Los Angeles-based American Foundation for Equal Rights, a group funded largely by Hollywood money and headed up by political strategist and "No on 8" campaign veteran Chad Griffin, who works closely with movie director Rob Reiner and Milk producer Bruce Cohen, among others.

Griffin hired heavy-hitting attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies to lead the lawsuit in court.

About Walker's decision, Griffin tells L.A. Weekly via email, "We're obviously thrilled by the chief judge's ruling today -- which moves us one step closer to the federal trial where we will prove the unconstitutionality of Prop. 8."

Gay rights activists, in the meantime, continue to gear up for either a 2010 or 2012 pro-gay marriage ballot measure that will attempt to repeal Proposition 8.

Equality California, the gay rights heavyweight in this state, wants to move forward with a 2012 initiative.

Courage Campaign, another major gay rights player, appears to be seeking a 2010 ballot measure.

After nearly a year of protest and heartbreak since Proposition 8 was passed last November, the gay community and their straight allies are seeing a new momentum that's been building in their favor just over the past few days.

On Sunday night, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a day to commemorate the birthday of slain gay rights leader Harvey Milk. Schwarzenegger also signed into law California's recognition of out-of-state same sex marriages that occurred during the time that gay marriage was still legal in this state.

Also, over the weekend, tens of thousands of gays, lesbians, and their straight friends and families marched in Washington D.C. to apply pressure on the federal government, particularly President Barack Obama, to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, and to pass other gay rights legislation.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at


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