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Religious Tolerance logo

Hollingsworth v. Perry (formerly Perry v. Schwarzenegger):
California lawsuit challenging constitutionality of Prop. 8

Part 1: 2013-MAR-26: The U.S. Supreme Court heard
oral arguments on the constitutionality of Proposition 8

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Continued from a previous essay

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In this web site, "SSM" is an acronym for "same-sex marriage."

"LGBT" is an acronym for "Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender persons and Transsexuals."

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Response to the pending oral arguments by politicians:

In the weeks leading up to the oral arguments, there appeared to be a groundswell of politicians who expressed their support for SSM:

  • Hillary Rodham Clinton produced a You Tube video for the Human Rights Campaign.

  • Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) is the latest Republican politician, and the first Republican Senator to reverse his position and support SSM. He reversed his position after his son, Will, 21, revealed to him that he is gay. Some commentators are now referring to the process of politicians changing their stance on SSM after conversations with a gay or lesbian friend or relative as the "Rob Portman effect."

  • A number of Democratic Senators from red (conservative) or purple (mixed) states announced their support for SSM. Included were Senators Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Claire McCaskill of (D-MO) and Jon Tester (D-MT), etc.

  • Karl Rove, a Republican strategist, said that it is possible for one of the Republican candidates for the presidency in 2016 might support SSM. 3

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Response to the Supreme Court hearings by members of the public:

The case created considerable interest among the public:

  • Both sides in the debate held peaceful marches on 2013-MAR-26, the day when the court heard oral arguments on the Prop. 8 case.

    • Michael Gryboski, reporter for the Christian Post, wrote that:

      "... thousands from both sides demonstrated and marched at the National Mall and outside the Supreme Court building. ... March for Marriage, an event that began at the National Mall on Tuesday morning, was sponsored by several groups that support defining marriage as being between one man and one woman. The event featured numerous speakers, Contemporary Christian Music, and hundreds, if not thousands, of people from many parts of the country. 9

    It would seem from his report, and from those of other commentators, that those in favor of marriage equality significantly outnumbered those in favor of keeping states' recognition of same-sex couple at the "legal strangers/roommate" level. That is to be expected, because, to those favoring SSM, the two cases being reviewed by the Court are absolutely pivotal for their future. Meanwhile, at least some of those who want to exclude same-sex couples from marriage are realizing from the results of various polls that they have lost the support for those under the age of 50 and that the eventual adoption of SSM nationwide is inevitable.

    • Dr. Jim Garlow, senior pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, CA spoke at the March. He said that such marches help:

      "... people to see that there are people of decency, people of goodness, of biblical truth that are willing to stand up and resist the onslaught that would attack the family and attack the institution of marriage. ... It encourages all of us and encourages people to think through the issues and understand that God has a vested interest in that which He created."

    • Bob Vander Plaats, president and CEO of The Family Leader also spoke at the March. He said that the march was:

      "Not so much for my marriage, my marriage is going to be fine. But I think for those of us people of faith our call is to look to the next generation. ... It is an issue of the future and we love everyone. And people have their own choices that they need to make. But we also have standards in society and one of those is marriage. ... Supreme Court Justices are human as well. They watch the news and they read the news and we're hoping that the message that is delivered today that they hear it."

    • Tami Fitzgerald, executive director of the North Carolina Values Coalition also spoke. He said that the March"

      "... shows the public that the American people very much support marriage. ... I was the chairwoman of Vote for Marriage North Carolina when we passed our marriage amendment last year and so I am very actively involved in trying to keep marriage between one man and one woman. We have hundreds of thousands and millions of people in this country that support traditional marriage and so the government and the church do not have the right to redefine marriage and that's why all these people are here today."

      She appears to be in error. U.S. governments and courts have redefined marriage many times in the past: at the end of the Civil War when African Americans were all allowed to marry, at the beginning of the 20th century when laws in various states were repealed so that deaf persons could marry, in 1867 when interracial couples were allowed to vote, and recently in the District of Columbia plus nine states when same-sex marriage was legalized. Every state defines who is eligible to marry. Their laws vary among the states. Every state seems to have the authority to widen the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples. Fitzgerald is incorrect when he says that churches do not have the right to redefine marriage. Some denominations and clergy have for decades been refusing to marry some interracial couples, immature couples, inter-faith couples, and in the case of the Roman Catholic church, couples who are physically disabled.

    • Christian Post reported that:

      "Other featured speakers included Bishop Harry Jackson, Jr., founder and president of the High Impact Leadership Coalition; Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage; and the Rev. Ruben Diaz, New York Senator (D-Bronx) and president of the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization." 9

  • Some people had lined up in front of the Supreme Court building in Washington DC six days in advance, enduring rain and cold, in the hopes of being able to attend the hearing as observers. There were two large groups numbering in the thousands who demonstrated at the building: one in favor of SSM, the other opposed.The vast majority of those present were supporters of marriage equality.

A few of the people at the steps of the Supreme Court included:

  • Ian Finkenbinder, who is gay. He wore his Army dress uniform to the event. He was discharged against his will from the Army in the days before the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy was repealed. Someone had discovered his sexual orientation and outed him.

  • John Lewis and Stuart Gaffney, a couple who were married during the brief interval in 2008 when same-sex couples were allowed to do so in California, wore the tuxedos from their wedding ceremony. Gaffney said:

    "It’s our very lives that are before the court today. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world today. It’s history in the making."

  • Jennifer PIzer from the pro-LGBT group Lambda Legal said:

    "It’s a little scary. But we all know we’re living in a very special moment." 4

  • Paul Katami, who is engaged to Jeff Zarrillo, wants to marry but cannot in California. He said:

    "This is about our freedom and our liberty. We are not trying to topple marriage. We are not trying to redefine marriage. What we are trying to say is that equality is the backbone of our country." 5

  • Carl Boyd Jr., a conservative talk-show host from Nashville , TN said:

    "If you want to get married, go to one of the states that allows gay marriage. Stop trying to force your agenda down our throats. Quit trying to bully the American people with the homosexual agenda." 5

  • CNN Politics shows 17 pictures of members of the public from both sides of the conflict in front of the Supreme Court building. 5

  • Daniel Martinez-Leffew sent a personal letter to Chief Justice Roberts before the hearing. He and his father posted the following video on You Tube:


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2013-MAR-26: The oral arguments before the Supreme Court:

A transcript of the oral arguments is available online, 1 as is a 1 hour, 20 minute audio recording of the proceedings. 2

C-Span provides the following video of the proceedings of the Supreme Court on MAR-26:


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2013-MAR-26: Response to the oral arguments by the plaintiffs, petitioners and their lawyers:

C-Span also provides a 24 minute video of statements by various principals in the case after the oral arguments were concluded. 8

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After the oral arguments:

Andrew Pugno, general counsel for the Protect Marriage Coalition, the group attempting to exclude same-sex couples from marrying in California 8, said its attorney had:

"... credibly presented the winning case for marriage. ... We think the hearing went very well."

Theodore Olson, a political conservative, who along with a political liberal David Boies are arguing that Prop. 8 is unconstitutional, said:

"We are confident where the American people are going with this. We don't know for sure what the United States Supreme Court is going to do, but we're very, very grateful they listened, they heard, they asked hard questions, and there's no denying where the right is."  5

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This topic continues in Part 2.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Full transcript of Supreme Court oral arguments on California Prop. 8 gay marriage case," Washington Post, 2013-MAR-26, at:
  2. Audio recording of the oral arguments; 1 hr., 20 min., Washington Post, 2013-MAR-26, at:
  3. Dan Balz, "Parties scramble to come to terms with opinion shift on same-sex marriage," Washington Post, 2013-MAR-26, at:
  4. Carol Morello, "Thousands rally outside Supreme Court as it hears cases on gay marriage," Washington Post, 2013-MAR-26, at:
  5. Bill Mears & Michael Pearson, "Justices appear hesitant as they hear arguments over same-sex marriage." CNN Politics, 2013-MAR-26, at:
  6. Daniel Martinez-Leffew, "Daniel's letter to chief justice Roberts," You Tube, 2013-MAR-17, at:
  7. "Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument on Same-Sex Marriage," C-Span, 2013-MAR-26, at:
  8. "Lawyers Respond to Oral Argument (3/26), C-Span, 2013-MAR-26, at: [This link appears defective. To see the video, click on the above link, then click on "Lawyers Respond to Oral Argument (3/26)" in the Video Playlist]
  9. Michael Gryboski, "March for Marriage Speaker: Future Generations' Marriage at Stake," Christian Post, 2013-MAR-26 at:

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Site navigation:

Home page > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality > Couples > California > Prop 8 > here

Copyright © 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2013-MAR-26
Latest update: 2013-MAR-31
Author: B.A. Robinson

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