Judge Denies Gay Groups in Federal Prop 8 Case, Sets Trial Date
At the hearing I posted about earlier today, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker set a January 11 trial date for a federal challenge to Proposition 8 brought by Ted Olson, David Boies, and the American Foundation for Equal Rights. The Alliance Defense Fund, which is defending Prop 8, had argued Friday that the case could be quickly decided without a trial. Boies and Olson wanted a trial before a judge without a trial before the end of the year.
Walker also denied a coalition of gay groups (Our Family Coalition; Lavender Seniors of the East Bay; and Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)) the request to stand by Olson and Boies at that trial. Walker also disallowed the conservative Campaign for California Families to join the Alliance Defense Fund in the defense of Prop 8. Olson and Boies requested last week that the gay groups not be allowed to join the case, saying their participation "would needlessly delay the case's resolution," according to the Washington Post.
Lambda Legal and the ACLU, who were representing the coalition of gay groups, released a statement: "On behalf of our clients, we are disappointed that the court did not permit organizations that represent California’s diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community to participate in the case as the Court weighs the harms inflicted by Proposition 8. The significance of this case for our entire community is enormous. To exclude the people whose very freedom is at stake is troubling. Our commitment to restoring marriage for all Californians is unwavering, and we will continue to do everything within our power to secure full equality and justice for LGBT people."
According to the SF Chronicle, the city of San Francisco, which had requested to join the case as well, will be allowed to participate, "but only to assess Proposition 8's impact on local government."
The Mercury News reports: "Walker ordered the parties to start taking depositions and sharing information in the discovery process immediately, with expert witnesses to be designated by Oct. 2 and discovery to conclude Nov. 30. A pretrial conference will be held Dec. 16, rebuttal expert witnesses must be designated by Dec. 31 and trial is set for Jan. 11; meanwhile, he'll hold an Oct. 14 hearing on Proposition 8 proponents' motion to dispose of certain issues by summary judgment before the rest of the case is tried. Walker indicated this timeline would balance the need for speed, so Californians aren't left hanging with the issue unresolved, with the need for developing a solid record for the assured appeals, perhaps all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court."