morning at 10 a.m. Pacific time in San Francisco, the
California supreme court will issue its decision on whether
to legalize same-sex marriage in the state, and some
gay leaders and LGBT legal experts are feeling
confident the decision will go their way.
us have been feeling optimistic, but cautiously so,"
said Jenny Pizer, senior counsel at the legal advocacy
group Lambda Legal, which is representing four of the
six cases that make up "In Re: Marriage," the overall
marriage case the California supreme court is
deciding. "[The optimism] is based on the oral
arguments. They went really well, and some of the
questions from the justices -- and the tone -- showed
how seriously they took our arguments. That some of the
problems that justices in other states have had don't
seem to be a problem [in California]."
Pizer also said
the timing of the justices' decision contributes to
Lambda Legal's hopefulness. The court actually has
until June 2 to hand down its ruling but is
deciding more than two weeks early, which may
foreshadow an uncomplicated decision.
judges are mostly Republican appointees," Pizer said.
"But they are moderate conservatives, not
ideological conservatives. It's the most
respected state supreme court in the country."
the possible negative repercussions that a decision
legalizing same-sex marriage would have on the presidential
election. However, when Massachusetts enacted marriage
equality in 2004, it was used as a wedge issue in that
year's presidential race.
"There's more excitement that if
there's success here, it will help enormously
to defeat the proposed constitutional amendment ballot
measure in California," Pizer said.
"[Defeating the amendment] is an enormous
priority not only in California, because California so often
leads the country. We're feeling quite
optimistic about achieving marriage equality in
California, and we know, if and when that happens, it will
have an enormous positive influence on the country.
The decision has national impact, much more in the
legal and social landscape for gay and lesbian couples
than in presidential politics."
Lorri Jean, CEO
of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, is also
feeling positive about Thursday's decision. In an
e-mail to supporters, Jean wrote, "Tomorrow
[Thursday] the California supreme court will issue its
ruling on same-sex marriage. Many are predicting the court
will find that same-sex couples must be treated
equally under California law and allowed to marry.
Such a decision will not only change the lives of
thousands of same-sex couples and their families in
California but will change the national landscape for
evening, Jean is planning a street festival in the gay
epicenter of West Hollywood, the intersection of Santa
Monica and San Vicente boulevards. In her e-mail, Jean
writes, "Win or lose, tomorrow night we eat
cake!!" (Neal Broverman, The Advocate)