Courage Campaign: Federal Judge rules Prop. 8 Unconstitutional


PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 4, 2010

Contact: Todd Stenhouse, Courage Campaign
(916) 397-1131, (916) 455-6640,
toddstenhouse@gmail.com

Federal Judge rules Prop. 8 Unconstitutional

 

Courage Campaign: ruling “an historic milestone for loving families and our nation as a whole.”

 
LOS ANGELES — In a landmark ruling released minutes ago in the case of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker has found that California’s ban on marriage equality — also known as Proposition 8 — violates the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
 
“This ruling is an historic milestone for millions of loving families, for all who have fought to realize the dream of equality under the law, and for our nation as a whole,” said Courage Campaign Founder and Chairman Rick Jacobs. “While today concludes the first step in a legal process that could take up to two years, Judge Walker’s ruling is a landmark victory in America’s centuries long war against discrimination, and the result of months of extraordinary work by the American Foundation for Equal Rights, Attorneys David Boies and Ted Olson, and courageous plaintiffs Kris Perry, Sandy Stier, Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo.”

Judge Walker’s ruling follows a contentious battle over public access to the trial, two weeks of testimony back in January, defense motions to strike Prop. 8 campaign documents and its own witnesses from the official trial record, and five hours of closing arguments in June.   

Together with CREDO Action, the Courage Campaign led efforts to get the Prop. 8 Trial televised — mobilizing 140,000 signatures in just three days after Judge Walker called for public comment on the issue.

After the defense successfully petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to block the order to televise the trial, the Courage Campaign launched prop8trialtracker.com: a live chronicle of the trial proceedings and testimony that Courage Campaign Founder Rick Jacobs — who attended every day of the trial — produced from within Judge Walker’s courtroom. The Prop 8 Trial Tracker has now been viewed more than 2.5 million times, generated more than 43,000 comments, and spawned the NOM Tour Tracker — a chronicle of videos, interviews, photos and first hand reporting on the Summer Tour of one of the Proposition 8’s biggest financial backers, the secretive National Organization for Marriage (NOM).
 
“History has already taught us that the biggest challenge for the cause of equality exists not just in courtrooms, but in the hearts and minds of the American people,” Jacobs added. “That’s why the public must hear the testimony presented in Judge Walker’s courtroom and that of the millions of loving LGBT families who have come to understand the destructive power of discrimination first-hand. It is clear that when presented with the truth about the millions of families who will be impacted by this decision, most Americans do not support the debunked myths and toxic rhetoric spewed by intolerant fringe groups like NOM.”

In collaboration with legendary LGBT activist Cleve Jones, the 700,000 member Courage Campaign’s educational arm, the Courage Campaign Institute, has also launched an unprecedented national public education campaign aimed at bridging the already narrowing gap between public policy and public opinion on LGBT equality issues. Called Testimony:  Equality on Trial, the multi-year campaign will help activists create, film and upload public trial re-enactments and their own trial depositions on a central clearinghouse website, www.equalityontrial.org.

“Defense attorney Charles Cooper spoke volumes when he declared ‘I have no evidence’ to support second class citizenship for millions of American families during his closing argument in Judge Walker’s courtroom. He’s been proven right, and Equalityontrial.org is designed to collect the overwhelming evidence — the stories of the millions of families who live the fight against discrimination every day, and to present them to the leaders and everyday people who may be altogether unfamiliar with these experiences, but on whom the principles of equality under the law must ultimately be applied.”

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