The first federal trial to determine if the Constitution allows states to ban same sex marriage began this week in the U.S. District court in San Francisco. The trial, which is supposed to last 2-3 weeks, involves a challenge to Proposition 8 which was passed by 52% of the voters in 2008. Prop 8 reinstated the ban on same sex marriages after the California Leglislature had voted to permit them. For a discussion on Prop 8 and same sex marriage, read our article on our family law website.
The plaintiffs, two gay couples, contend that there is no rational basis for limiting marriage to a man and a woman. Opponents, the supporters of Prop 8, are arguing that the voters were within their rights to establish that marriages should be limited to heterosexual couples. Testimony in the first few days has centered around historians who are testifying as to how Prop 8 is part of a long tradition of discriminating against gay couples.
Regardless of the outcome, the case will probably find its way to the United States Supreme Court. The ruling will lay the groundwork for the highest court to tackle the issue of same sex marriage. The Supreme Court has already gotten involved to the extent of ruling that the trial could not be broadcast on U-Tube.
It will be interesting to see what the District Court rules and how soon the U.S. Supreme Case will hear any appeal. It is doubtful there will be any resolution for couples in California any time soon. Same sex couples with the current uncertain status of the law can have unusual estate planning issues, with or without marriage and with or without children. Law Office of Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation has represented same sex couples with family law issues and estate planning issues. Call us if we can help. Your initial office visit is always complimentary.