Gibson Dunn Wins Historic Marriage Equality Victory Before Supreme Court

July 16, 2013

On May 22, 2009, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP filed a historic complaint challenging the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8; the amendment restricting marriage in California to between one man and one woman, thereby denying same-sex couples the right to marry.  In January 2010, a federal district court held a 12-day trial on the merits, and on August 4, 2010, declared Proposition 8 unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment.  The district court explained that Proposition 8 “does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples,” and directed that enforcement of Proposition 8 be enjoined.  The district court’s decision was affirmed by the Ninth Circuit, which held that “Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.  The Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort.”  The proponents of Proposition 8 appealed the case to the Supreme Court where oral argument was heard in March of 2013.  On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court issued its historic decision, leaving the district court’s broad injunction against the enforcement of Proposition 8 intact.  On June 28, 2013, our clients Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, and Kris Perry and Sandy Stier, along with hundreds of other couples in California, were legally married.