Prop 8 Case Update: LGBT Groups Seek to Intervene

Some movement today in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger federal challenge to Proposition 8.  The last we discussed the case here at Law Dork, Judge Walker granted intervenor status to the Prop 8 proponents and made it clear that his aim is to quickly decide this case on the merits of the challenge raised and allow the case to move on to the inevitable Ninth Circuit appeal.

Today, the LGBT legal groups who filed an amicus brief in support of the efforts of Ted Olson and David Boies in bringing the case — Lambda Legal, the ACLU and NCLR — filed a motion seeking to allow another trio of LGBT groups to intervene in the case.  The Motion to Intervene can be found here (pdf).  From the news release:

SAN FRANCISCO — Lambda Legal, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) today asked  the U.S. District Court in San Francisco to allow Our Family Coalition, Lavender Seniors of the East Bay, and Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays to intervene in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, a federal lawsuit challenging California’s Proposition 8.

The reason the groups are seeking the intervention, they assert, is to allow for a more complete development of the record in the case, which is something Judge Walker has made clear he is seeking in the case.  The full release can be found here.

In the motion, the groups argue that the current parties in the case might, at some point in the case, have interests that diverge in one respect or another from the proposed intervenors and that, as such, “representation by Plaintiffs of those interests may be inadequate.”  Motion to Intervene, at 11.  They write:

As opposed to the two Plaintiff couples, Proposed Intervenors represent the full range of lesbian and gay individuals and couples of all ages and ethnic, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, and their children (biological, adopted, and foster), parents, and other family members.

Id.  The Motion goes on to discuss distinctions in the harms from Prop 8 that a couple without children might face as opposed to a couple “with small children” and other similar distinctions.  In conclusion, the Motion states:

The questions of both law and fact at stake in this case are of enormous importance to the entire LGBT community.  Allowing representatives across a wide spectrum of that community to participate in this momentous litigation will ensure that a full range of perspectives and fact patterns arising for same-sex couples excluded from marriage by Proposition 8 and their families will be presented to the Court.

Id. at 15.

In a case such as this, particularly when the judge already has made clear that he wants a fully developed factual record, I find it very hard to imagine the judge denying this Motion to Intervene.

[Jim Burroway criticizes Lambda, the ACLU and NCLR for "Seek[ing] To Elbow Their Way Into Prop 8 Lawsuit.”]

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About the Author

Chris Geidner is the award-winning senior political & legal reporter at BuzzFeed and has written for Metro Weekly, The Atlantic Online, The American Prospect, Advocate.com, Salon and other publications, as well as at his blog, Law Dork. He has appeared regularly on television commenting on current affairs, including MSNBC, PBS, HLN & Current. Prior to moving to D.C. in 2009, he served as an attorney on the senior staff at the Ohio Attorney General's Office and had earlier worked for a leading Columbus law firm. An extended biography can be found here, and you can follow him on Twitter.