Historic Decision Upholding Gay Marriage Stands

June 5, 2012

Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied a motion to reconsider its historic ruling in Perry v. Brown, which found Proposition 8 unconstitutional.  Proposition 8 rewrote the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in the state.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP represented the plaintiffs in the case and in defending against the motion for reconsideration.

“Today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirmed that gay and lesbian Americans are entitled to the same freedoms, equality, respect, and decency that all citizens value and cherish,” said Gibson Dunn partner Theodore B. Olson.  “Gibson Dunn proudly represents our plaintiffs, Kris and Sandy and Jeff and Paul, in their federal challenge to discriminatory marriage bans that rob same-sex couples from being legally recognized and socially respected.”

On February 7, 2012, the Ninth Circuit upheld the district court’s decision finding Proposition 8 unconstitutional.  The Court reasoned that “[t]he People may not employ the initiative power to single out a disfavored group for unequal treatment and strip them, without a legitimate justification, of a right as important as the right to marry.”  At bottom, “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 request for a larger eleven-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit to reconsider the case, known as rehearing en banc, is only granted upon a majority vote of the Ninth Circuit’s 25 judges in regular active service at the time Proponents’ petition was filed.

Gibson Dunn’s efforts were led by Theodore B. Olson and Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr.  Christopher D. Dusseault, Matthew McGill, Theane Evangelis Kapur, Amir Tayrani, Enrique Monagas, and Joshua Lipshutz worked on the appeal.  Many other Gibson Dunn attorneys and staff from the San Francisco, Los Angeles and D.C. offices also worked on the trial, which led to this historic decision.  More information about the case can be found at the American Foundation for Equal Rights’ website, www.afer.org.