Results tagged “Same-Sex Marriage”

October 21, 2013

By Professor Karl Manheim and Adjunct Professors John S. Caragozian and Donald Warner

This op-ed originally appeared in the Oct. 21 edition of the Los Angeles Daily Journal.

A case has reached the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that may further determine the fate of the initiative process in California. In Vivid Entertainment v. Fielding, No. 13-56445 (9th Cir. filed Aug. 20, 2013), the court is being asked whether an initiative will be invalidated, even after its constitutionality has been upheld at trial, because executive officials have abandoned its defense.

Vivid follows on the heels of Hollingsworth v. Perry, decided by the Supreme Court in June. In Hollingsworth, same-sex California couples challenged voter-approved Proposition 8, which had banned same-sex marriage. The U. S. district court ruled that Prop. 8 was unconstitutional, and state officials refused to appeal. Accordingly, Prop. 8's official proponents -- who had successfully intervened as defendants at trial -- appealed. The 9th Circuit affirmed the district court's ruling of unconstitutionality, and the proponents petitioned for certiorari.

The Supreme Court held that Prop. 8 proponents lacked Article III standing and dismissed the appeal. Chief Justice John Roberts' majority opinion stated that only state "officials" may represent the state's interests in defending a voter-enacted initiative. Although the California Supreme Court earlier had held that Prop. 8's official proponents were authorized by state law to represent the state's interests, Roberts characterized the proponents as mere "bystanders" for Article III purposes.

Vivid challenges another voter-passed initiative, and elected officials are again refusing to defend it. Measure B, which was passed by Los Angeles County voters, requires, inter alia, condom use by actors in adult films made in the county. Vivid's plaintiffs -- movie producers and actors -- sued the county in U. S. district court, claiming that Measure B was an unconstitutional restriction on expression.

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July 29, 2013

By James Gilliam, Guest Alumni Blogger


Twenty years ago, I attended my first gay Pride celebration in my hometown of Nashville, Tenn. It marked the beginning of my advocacy on behalf of the LGBTQ community -- and has informed all that I have done since. This is the work that drives me.

Over the past two decades, the tools I've used to enact change have evolved as I have continued my education. I began my career in the LGBTQ movement as the director of the organization that produced the Pride event in Nashville. But I soon learned the power of the law. City officials tried, time and again, to block the celebration. They increased the number of costly, off-duty police officers we had to hire to provide security. They demanded, the morning of the event one year, that we display documents proving that our tents were flame retardant. Every year but one, they refused to close the main street for our parade. When necessary, we threatened a lawsuit; and each time, our celebration proceeded.

I wanted to wield the power of the law for good. So I came here, to Loyola Law School, on a public interest scholarship. When I graduated a decade ago, many states still considered gays and lesbians criminals. Just months later, while I was studying for the bar exam, I witnessed the law serving as an agent of justice: In Lawrence v. Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court held that Texas's law -- which criminalized sexual acts between same-sex partners, but not partners of the opposite sex -- was unconstitutional.

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January 9, 2013

NeJaime2.jpgBy Associate Professor Douglas NeJaime

This op-ed originally appeared in The Advocate.

The Supreme Court has decided to hear two cases relating to marriage equality. The first, United States v. Windsor, raises the constitutionality of section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal recognition to same-sex couples' marriages. The second, Hollingsworth v. Perry, involves the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8, the state constitutional amendment banning marriage for same-sex couples. After the court's announcement, many commentators and some LGBT activists speculated that the court's ultimate decision in the cases would bring the end of marriage-based discrimination against same-sex couples. Some expect the justices to extend the fundamental right to marry to same-sex couples. Others are focusing on equal protection, anticipating a ruling that sexual orientation classifications merit heightened scrutiny. Such a decision would immediately cast doubt on any form of sexual orientation discrimination, including the marriage prohibitions that a vast majority of states maintain.

But this might all be wishful thinking.

Yes, the court might have taken the Windsor case because the Second Circuit Court of Appeals applied heightened scrutiny to sexual orientation classifications, whereas the First Circuit's Gill v. Office of Personnel Management decision applied only rational basis review. But, more likely, the court might have taken Windsor and not Gill because all nine justices could participate in the case. It was widely believed that Justice Kagan would have recused herself from Gill given her role in the Obama administration during deliberations regarding that case.

[Read the complete story here.]

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December 7, 2012

NeJaime2.jpgBy Professor Doug NeJaime

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to hear two cases implicating marriage for same-sex couples. The first, United States v. Windsor, raises the question of whether Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denies federal recognition to same-sex couples' marriages, is unconstitutional. The second, Hollingsworth v. Perry, involves the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8, the state constitutional amendment banning marriage for same-sex couples. That the Court has taken these two cases suggests that it may approach the significant issue raised by the Second Circuit in Windsor -- but avoided by the Ninth Circuit in Perry -- regarding the level of scrutiny to be afforded sexual orientation classifications for equal protection purposes. If sexual orientation classifications merit heightened scrutiny, as the Second Circuit held, all laws that discriminate against lesbians and gay men -- including state marriage prohibitions -- would be suspect. Of course, the combination of Windsor and Perry also suggests that some Justices may believe there is a material distinction between a federal law denying recognition to same-sex couples' valid state-law marriages and a state law preventing same-sex couples from marrying. In other words, the Supreme Court may, on one hand, be poised to issue definitive rulings in favor of sexual orientation equality or, on the other hand, be prepared to split the difference. At the same time, the Supreme Court could simply approach both issues by employing the lowest level of constitutional scrutiny and yet still find both the federal and state laws unconstitutional.

Professor NeJaime recently wrote about the possible Supreme Court review of same-sex marriage laws on Jurist.

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November 16, 2012

NeJaime2.jpgBy Associate Professor Doug NeJaime

On November 7, 2012, voters in Maine, Maryland, and Washington became the first in the country to approve same-sex marriage at the ballot box, ending a long-running streak of popular votes against marriage equality. On the same day, voters in Minnesota rejected a constitutional amendment that would have prohibited marriage for same-sex couples — something California voters failed to do four years ago. Now that the popular vote has swung the other way, it is not simply the political calculus that has changed but the legal landscape as well. For opponents of same-sex marriage, their streak at the ballot box has supported their arguments against judicial intervention in favor of marriage equality. With these recent results, it becomes increasingly difficult to paint the judiciary — and the US Supreme Court in particular — as an overreaching, out-of-touch institution on the question of same-sex marriage. This new dynamic comes just as the Supreme Court prepares to consider the issue. The Court will soon announce whether it will review cases striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California's Proposition 8.

The entire piece is available on Jurist's Forum. Read the complete piece.

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October 30, 2012

NeJaime2.jpgBy Associate Professor Doug NeJaime

On November 6, voters in Maine, Maryland, and Washington will decide whether to allow same-sex couples to marry. In 2010, Maine voters repealed the marriage equality law that lawmakers had passed and the governor had signed. This time Mainers will be the first in the country to affirmatively vote on same-sex marriage. In Maryland and Washington, voters are being asked whether to approve or reject the marriage equality laws state lawmakers passed earlier this year. In all three states, recent polls suggest that marriage equality may win.

BloggingBallotCheck12b.jpgOf course, this would mark a game-changing moment in the political battle for same-sex marriage. But it would also significantly impact the legal battle raging in the courts. Currently, the U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether to weigh in on both the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California's Proposition 8, the state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Advocates at the leading LGBT legal organizations warned against the federal challenge to Proposition 8, worried about its uncertain fate at the Court. Throughout the litigation, they have worked - along with the City and County of San Francisco and prominent constitutional law professors - to frame the case as one about the unique situation in California. The Ninth Circuit agreed, finding that California, which allowed same-sex couples to marry before taking that right away and which provides a comprehensive domestic partnership system with the state-law rights and benefits of marriage for same-sex couples, did not have a legitimate interest in restricting marriage. Under the Ninth Circuit's holding, determinations regarding the constitutionality of other states' marriage bans require additional litigation. LGBT movement advocates, therefore, are hoping the Justices will pass on the invitation to review the Ninth Circuit's decision.

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October 11, 2012

Law review articles by Associate Professors Doug NeJaime and Priscilla A. Ocen appear in the California Law Review issue published in October 2012.

CalLawReview.jpgNeJaime's "Marriage Inequality: Same-Sex Relationships, Religious Exemptions and the Production of Sexual Orientation Discrimination" (100 Cal. L. Rev. 1169) looks at the conflict between marriage equality and religious liberty. Ocen's "Punishing Pregnancy: Race, Incarceration, and the Shackling of Pregnant Prisoners" (100 Cal. L. Rev. 1239) provides a critical assessment of the practice of shackling female prisoners who are in labor, and the historical undertones of the practice.

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October 26, 2011


Loyola Law School and the Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review hosted a daylong discussion of the most pressing issues facing the gay, lesbian and transgender community during the symposium "LGBT Identity and the Law" on Friday, Oct. 21 on Loyola's downtown L.A. campus. Antidiscrimination, constitutional culture, healthcare and family issues will be the focus of four panel discussions. The keynote speaker was Dr. Gary Gates, Williams Distinguished Scholar, The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law.

"Speakers addressed how sexual orientation issues are shaping constitutional law and politics, how antidiscrimination law both protects and fails to protect sexual minorities, how issues around healthcare access and medical care shape the lives of transgender and intersex individuals, and how the law recognizes and regulates families headed by same-sex couples," said Associate Professor Doug NeJaime, an organizer and moderator of the symposium. "Not only did the panelists chart the trajectory of the LGBT rights movement, they provided fresh commentary and presented new research on current and emerging issues that will shape the future of LGBT rights litigation, policy work and scholarship."


8:45-9:00 A.M. | WELCOME
Victor J. Gold, Fritz B. Burns Dean and Professor of Law, Loyola Law School; Senior Vice President, Loyola Marymount University


Moderator: James Gilliam, Deputy Executive Director, ACLU of Southern California; Adjunct Professor, Loyola Law School

Cary Franklin, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Texas at Austin School of Law

Holning Lau, Associate Professor of Law, University of North Carolina School of Law

Jennifer Pizer, Legal Director and Arnold D. Kassoy Senior Scholar of Law, The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law

Cliff Rosky, Associate Professor of Law, University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law

10:30-10:45 A.M. | BREAK


Moderator: Douglas NeJaime, Associate Professor of Law, Loyola Law School

Dale Carpenter, Earl R. Larson Professor of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Law, University of Minnesota Law School

Jon Davidson, Legal Director, Lambda Legal

Julie Nice, Herbst Foundation Professor of Law, University of San Francisco School of Law

12:15-1:45 P.M. | LUNCH

Keynote: Dr. Gary Gates, Williams Distinguished Scholar, The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law


Moderator: Brietta Clark, Professor of Law, Loyola Law School

Julie Greenberg, Professor of Law, Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Ilan Meyer, Ph.D., Williams Senior Scholar for Public Policy, The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law

Katie Pratt, Professor of Law, Loyola Law School

Brad Sears, Executive Director and Roberta A. Conroy Scholar of Law and Policy, The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law

3:15-3:30 P.M. | BREAK


Moderator: Jennifer Rothman, Professor of Law and Joseph Scott Fellow, Loyola Law School

Courtney Joslin, Acting Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law

Melissa Murray, Professor of Law, Berkeley Law

Nancy Polikoff, Professor of Law, American University Washington College of Law; McDonald/Wright Visiting Chair of Law and Faculty Chair, The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law

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July 22, 2011

Doug NeJaimeAssociate Professor Doug NeJaime recently published an op-ed, "Same-sex marriage: Married but unequal," in the Los Angeles Times.

On Sunday, New York will begin issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, further complicating the tangled legal mess of same-sex marriage in America.

Why does this complicate things? Consider what happens when legally married couples from New York move to, say, California. They'll see their marriages evaporate, based only on their sexual orientation.

Read the complete op-ed.

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June 14, 2011

Doug NeJaimeBy Associate Professor Doug NeJaime

This is another installment in the Summary Judgments summer series, "The Headline Club," in which Loyola Law School professors will discuss legal issues ripped from the front page.

In denying the Proposition 8 proponents' motion to vacate Judge Walker's ruling, Judge Ware clearly got it right as a matter of judicial conduct. But he got it right in another way -- one that's more subtle and yet more significant: Judge Ware rejected the proponents' slippery distinction between sexual orientation and same-sex relationships.

In seeking to vacate Judge Walker's ruling that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, the Proposition 8 proponents argued that they weren't challenging Judge Walker's impartiality based merely on his sexual orientation; rather, they were bothered by his long-term same-sex relationship. A gay judge, they argued, could decide a marriage equality case; a gay judge in a relationship, on the other hand, could not.

In making this crafty argument, the proponents relied on a distinction without a difference. Sexual orientation is by definition a relational category -- one's sexual orientation can only truly manifest itself with regard to another person (or at least the idea of another person). Therefore, to argue that Judge Walker should recuse himself based on his same-sex relationship is the same as arguing that he should recuse himself based on his sexual orientation. Judge Walker enacts and lives out his sexual orientation by having a relationship with another man.

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March 28, 2011

Doug NeJaimeBy Associate Professor Doug NeJaime

In anticipation of his presentation during a session on "The Constitutional Politics of Equality" during the upcoming conference at the University of Texas School of Law, The Constitution in 2020: The Future of Equality, Associate Professor NeJaime wrote the following blog post for Balkinization.

Popular accounts and media commentary on the federal suits challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California's Proposition 8 focus largely on the inevitable march toward marriage equality. Implicit in such accounts is a claim about the impact of favorable court decisions on the LGBT rights agenda. After a district court victory in the Massachusetts DOMA case and the more recent announcement by Attorney General Holder that DOMA is unconstitutional under an appropriately heightened standard, the toppling of the federal ban seems imminent. After the district court's decisive blow to Prop. 8 in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger litigation and a Ninth Circuit oral argument before a generally receptive panel, commentators have focused on the impact of positive judicial intervention on same-sex couples in California.

Read the complete post at Balkinization.

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January 4, 2011

Doug NeJaimeBy Associate Professor Doug NeJaime

Today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued two crucial orders in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the federal challenge to California's Proposition 8. But rather than get to the merits of the question -- whether California's denial of the right to marry to same-sex couples violates federal equal protection or due process principles -- the panel dealt with threshold questions of standing. And at least one member of the court, Judge Reinhardt, seems frustrated by the roadblocks standing between the court and the merits.

In a per curiam opinion, the panel asked the California Supreme Court to weigh in on the question of standing. Specifically, the judges asked the state court to determine whether "the official proponents of an initiative measure possess either a particularlized interest in the initiative's validity or the authority to assert the State's interest in the initiative's validity, which would enable them to defend the constitutionality of the initiative upon its adoption or appeal a judgment invalidating the initiative, when the public officials charged with that duty refuse to do so." In other words, now that the California Governor and Attorney General refuse to defend the marriage ban, can the groups behind Proposition 8 step in to defend it? If the Proposition 8 proponents do not have a state-created right to defend their intiative, then the Ninth Circuit would be compelled to dismiss the appeal for lack of standing and leave the substance of marriage equality for another day.

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December 6, 2010

Doug NeJaimeBy Associate Professor Doug NeJaime

Associate Professor Doug NeJaime wrote about the potential implications of Perry v. Schwarzenegger in a post last week. He live-Tweeted today's oral arguments.

While the first hour of oral argument in Perry focused on the question of standing, the second hour moved on to the meat of the case: the substantive merits regarding Prop. 8 and same-sex couples' right to marry. And here all three judges seemed genuinely interested in a narrow framing of the case--as one about whether California has a legitimate interest in taking away the label "marriage" from lesbian and gay Californians while leaving intact a comprehensive domestic partnership regime that provides the rights and benefits of marriage. In other words, can the Ninth Circuit rule that Prop. 8 is unconstitutional without directly impacting marriage restrictions in other states? Indeed, even Judge Smith, the most conservative judge on the panel, pointedly asked Charles Cooper, attorney for the Prop 8 proponents, whether one can find that California lacks a rational basis for the law without also finding that other states lack a rational basis for their marriage bans.

This narrow framing does not appear to be the plaintiffs' strategy of choice. They have consistently argued that lesbians and gay men enjoy a fundamental right to marry under the federal Due Process Clause and that classifications based on sexual orientation should (like race) be subject to strict scrutiny under the federal Equal Protection Clause. Yet various amici have been pushing a more limited framing of the case. The judges appear to have taken these arguments seriously, pressing the lawyers on the complexities of the California-specific reading. Although Ted Olson, arguing for the plaintiffs, maintained his position in favor of a more sweeping ruling, he nonetheless indulged the judges' interest in the more limited reading and set out a compelling argument that Prop. 8 fails a less searching level of scrutiny. And Terry Stewart, representing the City of San Francisco, argued forcefully that the Ninth Circuit could find Prop. 8 invalid under rational basis review because it constitutes nothing more than a classification for its own sake.

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December 2, 2010

Doug NeJaimeBy Associate Professor Doug NeJaime

This is the third installment in the 11-part series, "11 on '11," in which Loyola Law School professors are weighing in on what they expect to be the biggest legal issues in their fields in 2011. (On Monday, Dec. 6, Professor NeJaime will live Tweet the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals oral arguments in Perry v. Schwarzenegger beginning at 10 a.m. PT. He will provide follow-up analysis on Summary Judgments afterward.)

Everyone now seems to agree: The U.S. Supreme Court will eventually take up the issue of marriage for same-sex couples. But an open question remains: in what context?

Two potentially landmark federal cases are working their way through the courts. The first, Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, is a carefully constructed piece of movement advocacy. LGBT rights lawyers have long avoided the issue of marriage in the federal courts, preferring instead to work with sympathetic state courts (and, increasingly, legislatures) and keep the issue away from a generally conservative U.S. Supreme Court. But after a series of state-level victories, lawyers at Boston-based Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) filed their Gill complaint, which challenges the unequal treatment of Massachusetts married couples (same-sex vs. different-sex) under the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). DOMA prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex "spouses," thereby creating two separate systems of federal treatment of couples who are married for Massachusetts state law purposes.

Meanwhile, in the wake of Proposition 8, which amended the California Constitution to prohibit marriage for same-sex couples, the newly formed American Foundation for Equality Rights (AFER) filed Perry v. Schwarzenegger, a federal constitutional challenge to the ban. While LGBT rights lawyers refused to challenge Proposition 8 in federal court and discouraged AFER from doing so--preferring instead to work at the state level--famed litigators Ted Olson and David Boies took the case.

Both cases are slowly working their way up the federal appellate chain. The federal District Court of Massachusetts recently ruled tag that DOMA violates the federal equal protection guarantee, as applied to Massachusetts same-sex couples. While the case sits at the First Circuit Court of Appeals, GLAD has filed a similar challenge tag, in the federal District Court of Connecticut, on behalf of married same-sex couples in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Vermont. The Perry plaintiffs also received a favorable district court ruling tag, in which the Northern District of California federal court found Proposition 8 violative of federal due process and equal protection guarantees. The Ninth Circuit will hear oral argument in the case on Monday and will consider questions of standing in addition to the substantive constitutional merits.

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