Friday, May 29, 2009

Redoubling Our Commitment to Defend Marriage

On Tuesday – less than three months after Kenneth W. Starr and I appeared in the California Supreme Court on behalf of our Campaign to defend Prop 8 – the Court finally issued its decision… all 185 pages of it!

By a 6 to 1 vote, a nearly-unanimous majority of the Supreme Court upheld the vote of the people by which Prop 8 was passed into law to protect traditional marriage in our State Constitution.  You canread the decision here as it appears on the Court’s website.

While there were no real surprises in the decision, and it looks very much like we anticipated after seeing how the Court was leaning at the March hearing, I wanted to take a moment to share a few important thoughts with you:

First, it is important to pause and fully appreciate the enormous odds we overcame in this case.  We, the people, were up against all the major national gay rights organizations, the State Attorney General, numerous cities and counties, labor unions, law professors, legislators, corporations with deep pockets --- basically the entire political establishment ---- as well as literally hundreds of lawyers working hard to overturn Prop 8.  Under those conditions it is even more amazing that we ultimately prevailed in winning this case to uphold the will of the voters.  We have much to be thankful for.

Second, the Court’s decision to continue recognizing those same-sex couples who obtained marriage licenses prior to the passage of Prop 8 should be kept in perspective.  Remember that a large number of the marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples were for out-of-state residents travelling to California --- which will not be recognized anyway in the vast majority of their home states.  Moreover, if California goes as Massachusetts did after legalizing gay marriage, a substantial portion of the still-recognized gay marriages will be dissolved by divorce within a few years.  In the end, only a tiny number of gay marriages will continue to be recognized.  What really matters is that the vast majority of what was at stake in this case --- the right of the voters to amend the state constitution to restore traditional marriage going forward --- ultimately proved to be a complete victory for us!

Last, even as we celebrated our victory for the more than 7 million voters who approved Prop 8 at the polls, our opponents were already announcing today their intention to bring another measure to reverse Prop 8 in a future election, and to conduct a grassroots campaign in the mean time to change the hearts and minds of California voters to favor gay marriage.  Also, we just learned that another challenge (this time in federal court) has been filed against Prop 8.  In other words, although today was a major victory of epic proportions, the war is not over.  We must remain committed to defending traditional marriage on every front. 

Thank you again for everything you have done to help us protect marriage in California.  This great decision upholding the will of the voters should be encouragement to us all, to stay in the fight and redouble our commitment to defend marriage. 


Andy Pugno
Chief Legal Counsel