Media Advisory

Scholars available on Prop. 8 same-sex marriage ruling

Contact: By Susan Gluss, UC Berkeley School of Law
(510) 642-6936

26 May 2009

ATTENTION: UC Berkeley experts available for interviews regarding Proposition 8


The California Supreme Court today (Tuesday, May 26) by a 6-1 vote upheld the constitutionality of the voter-approved Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage. The court ruled, however, that existing same-sex marriages can stand. The measure appeared on the state ballot in November 2008 and passed with a 52 percent majority.

Immediately after the November election, three lawsuits were filed challenging the validity of the proposition on the grounds that revoking the right of gay couples to marry was a constitutional "revision" rather than an "amendment," and therefore required the prior approval of two-thirds of the state Legislature. The California Supreme Court heard these challenges to Prop. 8 in March 2009.

Today's ruling lets stand the estimated 18,000 same-sex marriages that were validated in California before the passage of Prop. 8.

UC Berkeley School of Law scholars who can offer commentary include:

Associate Dean and Law Professor Goodwin Liu, an expert on constitutional law, civil rights and the Supreme Court. Liu signed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs in the 2008 re: Marriage Cases that overturned state law banning gay marriage. Liu has also testified before the state assembly and senate judiciary committees on the legal impact of Prop 8.
Contact: or (510) 642-7509

Law Professor Jesse Choper, a constitutional scholar and expert on the U.S. Supreme Court. Choper can address the question of: What next? The case can't go to the Supreme Court, but advocates can push the legislature to take action. Choper wrote a brief in favor of the plaintiffs in re: Marriage Cases, advising the court to rule on the basis of constitutional interpretation - not public opinion
Contact: or (510) 642 -0339

Law Professor Herma Hill Kay and Lecturer Joan Hollinger, family law scholars who co-authored an amicus brief in support of civil marriage for gay couples. The brief argued that the California Legislature and courts had already determined that there was no meaningful difference between committed same-sex and opposite-sex couples, and had therefore extended full recognition and legal protections to same-sex partners and their children. Kay and Hollinger also joined an amicus brief in the current litigation, arguing that even if Prop 8 bans future gay marriages, the existing 18,000 marriages by same-sex couples will continue to be valid in California.
Contact: or