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City of San Francisco lawyers argue Proposition 8 irrational under California law

Lawyers representing the city of San Francisco submitted a brief [text, PDF] on Monday arguing that California's ban on same-sex marriages [JURIST news archive], better known as Proposition 8 [text; JURIST news archive], is irrational under California state law. The brief was submitted to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] both in support of the district court's finding in Perry v. Schwarzenegger [case materials; JURIST report] that Proposition 8 violates the US Constitution [text] and to present evidence that "Proposition 8 is not rationally related to legitimate government interests in light of California's particular constitutional and statutory guarantees." The brief also argues [KTVU News report] that gay and lesbian parents are treated the same as heterosexual parents under California law, which undermines the justification for the statute provided by the opposition. It states:

Proponents urge "responsible procreation" as the justification for Proposition 8. But the State "may not rely on a classification whose relationship to an asserted goal is so attenuated as to render the distinction arbitrary or irrational..." Because Proposition 8 did not alter California's laws concerning having and rearing children, Proponents' asserted justification is too disconnected with Proposition 8 to be credited, and this Court must look elsewhere to find the basis for Proposition 8.
Proponents of Proposition 8 have until November 1 to file a reply to the city's brief. The court is scheduled to hear the case during the second week of December.

Last month, officials in Imperial County [official website] submitted a brief [JURIST report] appealing the federal court's decision finding Proposition 8 unconstitutional. The appeal came just days after supporters of Proposition 8 filed a brief [JURIST report] seeking standing in order to file the appeal. Earlier in the month, a judge for the California Court of Appeal, 3rd Appellate District [official website] ruled [JURIST report] that neither Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger or Attorney General Jerry Brown [official websites] is required to appeal the decision of the district court. In August, a three-judge panel for the Ninth Circuit issued a stay [JURIST report] of district court's decision, pending appeal. Schwarzenegger, Brown and others filed motions [JURIST report] opposing the stay request. Schwarzenegger and Brown were originally defendants in the lawsuit, and their refusal to oppose the stay left defendant-intervenors Protect Marriage [advocacy website] and other groups to defend the law. The remaining defendant-intervenors have indicated they will, if necessary, appeal the case to the US Supreme Court.

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