[JURIST] A judge in the US District Court for the Northern District of California ruled Wednesday that several gay rights groups may not intervene in a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] challenging California's constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive], Proposition 8 [text, PDF], on federal constitutional grounds. Judge Vaughn Walker denied requests to intervene filed by groups represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Lambda Legal and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) [advocacy websites]. Walker also denied a similar request by the Campaign for California Families [advocacy website], which supported Proposition 8. Lambda Legal said in a statement [text] that it "anticipates continuing to support the case as an amicus." Walker set a trial date for January 11, 2010.
The lawsuit was filed [JURIST report] in May by former US solicitor general Ted Olson and prominent litigator David Boies [professional profiles], who were opposing counsel in Bush v. Gore [opinion], which decided the outcome of the contested 2000 US Presidential election [JURIST backgrounder]. The challenge was announced shortly after the California Supreme Court [official website] ruled [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] that state law challenges to the ban lacked merit. Proposition 8, approved by voters [JURIST report] in November, was a response to the California Supreme Court's decision last year striking down [JURIST report] a statutory ban on same-sex marriage as violating the equal protection and privacy provisions of the state constitution. The amendment has become a focal point for gay rights, prompting donors from across the US and several foreign countries to contribute $83 million in total for both sides of the issue, setting US fundraising records [JURIST report].