Oral Arguments in the
fight to invalidate Prop. 8 have concluded. And while the
California supreme court has 90 days to issue its decision,
Advocate.com reached out to Geoff Kors from Equality California
and Brad Sears from UCLA's School of Law for their take on
today's legal proceedings.
Geoff Kors, executive director, Equality California
How was the hearing from the inside?
There were a lot of
questions; they really hit each attorney with a lot of good
questions, and through different perspectives. One of the
justices was even suggesting marriage for no one, so it was an
interesting oral argument.
Were there any particular highlights for you?
I think the attorneys
for our side, particularly Shannon Minter and Jenny Stewart,
did an amazing job, and they're true heroes for our
community. I think they made a really strong case that if
Proposition 8 were to stand, all of the rights we gained are up
for grabs. And they really highlighted that it's not just
about the rights, but the word
comes with dignity and respect, and that's what the court
ruled [in May 2008]. If the court wants to rewrite what they
wrote, it's going to be very difficult. They really brought
that argument out to light in a major way.
Do you think we'll hear from the court soon? Some
estimates say they are already prepared to rule on
The court has 90 days.
They could decide in weeks, or maybe months, but in the
meantime, here in California, this is the battle of our lives
-- it's about our history, and we need to be prepared for
the outcome. No group has ever lost its rights, and we're
hoping that will remain the case.
Brad Sears, executive director of the Williams Institute
at the UCLA School of Law
What is your take on the fate of the 18,000 couples who
were married before Prop. 8 passed?
I think it's very clear
that almost all of the justices who asked questions
about retroactivity indicated that they felt that those
marriages should remain validaEUR| There wasn't an indication
in the ballot or ballot materials.
Could you get a fair read on any of the justices?
The best read was that
particular justices were in strong favor of not overturning
Prop. 8, as they had their minds made up already. Kennard and
George seemed unsympathetic to our arguments. Kennard firmly
stated her position -- that she feels this is a
distinct caseaEUR|that today's issue was different. I read
Kennard's heavy engagement today, and it came across
forcefully, but very careful throughout the argumentsaEUR| It's
hard to sayaEUR| I think it's not over yet.
Which side had the better arguments?
What was easier about
our side was that we had one compelling argument -- to
protect the rights of an oppressed minority group against the
majority. We had a great team that met with unsympathetic