The California Supreme Court recognized same-sex marriage rights in May 2008, after which about 18,000 same-sex couples were married. In November 2008, the states voters, by 52 to 48 percent, approved Proposition 8, which amended the California Constitution to declare that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in the state.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in turn, struck down Proposition 8 in a way that didnt affect other states. The appellate court, stressing the unique and strictly limited nature of its ruling, concluded in February 2012 that the people may not employ the initiative power to single out a disfavored group for unequal treatment and strip them, without a legitimate justification, of a right as important as the right to marry.
Three attorneys will argue the case. Charles Cooper, a former Reagan administration appointee who unsuccessfully argued on behalf of Proposition 8 during a San Francisco trial and at the appellate court, will make a return appearance. Hell be opposed once more by Theodore Olson, a former Bush administration solicitor general. Speaking on behalf of the Obama administration, also in opposition to Proposition 8, will be Solicitor General Donald Verrilli.
The courtroom proper can seat about 400 spectators, in addition to 82 press seats in a hallway. Each of the attorneys whos arguing receives six tickets. Olson, for instance, is using four of his for the two California couples whose names are on the lawsuit challenging Proposition 8.
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