February 2013

Sideman & Bancroft Attorneys File Amicus Brief in Support of Proposition 8 Challengers


SAN FRANCISCO, February 28, 2013 – Sideman & Bancroft LLP partners Louis Feuchtbaum and Diana Richmond and Richard Rosenthal of the Law Offices of Richard Rosenthal filed an amicus brief in support of the challengers to Proposition 8 (“Prop 8”) in the U.S. Supreme Court on February 27th. The brief was submitted on behalf of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, its Northern California chapter, and the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists.

Prop 8, a California ballot proposition and state constitutional amendment passed in November 2008, restricts marriage to opposite-sex couples. Stating that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California,” the proposition overturned the 2008 California Supreme Court ruling of In re Marriage Cases that found that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.

Proponents of Prop 8 have sought to justify the ban on same-sex marriage by stating that the state’s interest in regulating marriage is tied to “the unique capacity of intimate relationships between men and women to create new life.” Moreover, proponents argue that children should be raised in a stable home by two parents and that these parents should be the biological mother and father.

“We may be at the tipping point. The rationales of Prop 8 proponents cannot survive even the most lenient rational basis test,” said Diana Richmond. “All children deserve the stability that marriage – whether it is opposite-sex or same-sex marriage – provides.”

Writing on behalf of children of same-sex couples, Ms. Richmond, Mr. Feuchtbaum, and Mr. Rosenthal argue that barring marriage for same-sex couples actively harms children by depriving them of the emotional and financial support of two parents.

The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on the constitutionality of Prop 8 on Tuesday, March 26th, one day before it hears a challenge to the federal government’s denial of benefits to legally married gay and lesbian couples under a law known as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In February 2012, a federal appeals court ruled that Prop 8 is unconstitutional on the basis that it withdrew rights from a historically diversecuted minority. The Supreme Court’s ruling, due at the end of June, is expected to address whether gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry.