tv KTVU News Special Prop 8 FOX March 26, 2013 6:30pm-7:00pm PDT
. the will of the people. >> good or bad. history is being made. >> key quality. >> now hands of the supreme court. >> a landmark case. both sides of the debate. the arguments and where we go from here. >> complete bay area news coverage starts right now. this is ktvu channel 2news. >> good evening. i'm ken wayne. >> this is a special edition of ktvu news. historic arguments as california's nine year tug of war over same sex marriage reached the highest court. >> tonight we go in depth on the proposition eight case. we start with david stevenson live in washington dc where he witnessed the oral arguments from inside the court. david. >> that's right. i sat in on the historic hearing on same sex marriage and witnessed powerful displays
of emotion inside and outside 6 court. what's unclear is what the justices will do next. >> marriage, quality. >> same sex marriage made it it's which through the highest court in a burst of pride and protest outside the court. >> we are men and we are women. >> inside the court the nine justices heard arguments on california's proposition 8 same sex marriage ban. a case a justice called a trip into uncharted waters. the proposition 8 attorney took flack after telling the court marriage traditionally has served as a vehicle for procreation. >> if the states said that because we think that the focus of marriage should be on procreation, we aren't going to give licenses anymore to any couple where both people are over the age of 55. would that be constitutional. >> no it would not. >> the attorney for same sex marriage sparred with one
justice over the history of marriage and when gay became excluded. >> want to know how long it has been unconstitutional. >> i don't --. >> seems to be justice --. >> you that would be able to tell me. i don't know how to decide the case. >> i submit you never required that before. >> the court -- asked some penetrating, measured questions of both see yous and now it's in the hands of the court. >> attorneys for both sides said they hope for the best but are unsure of how the justices will rule. >> we don't foe what they will do. we are very gratified that they listened. >> a big question today, whether the proposition supporters even have the standing to bring this before the court. that's a question that may not be answered any time soon. a ruling is suspected in june. >> david what was it like for you witnessing today's arguments inside the courtroom?
>> you could feel the energy. it had finally made its way in. at times there were bursts of humor among the judges talking to the lawyers on both sides, in one case the justice made a joke about elderly citizens, if they would be able to procreate and fall under the issue of marriage as a means for procreation but at other time there is was a lot of emotion. justice kennedy talked about the children of same sex couples and how they were waiting to hear on how the court would rule. >> david, thank you. >> joining us now to look at this -- is a law professor. i now we aren't going to know anything until june but what do you have as a take away? >> i thought it was very
important that a number of the justices, asked a lot of questions about if the sponsors to proposition 8 are valid parties and if they are valid representatives of the voters. if there are three or four or five justices who think that the proposition 8 sponsors don't have standing then they could end up not deciding on the merits. association i won't be surprised if that happens based on what was said before and about what -- i have been thinking this for a couple years and it was kind of confirmed today. >> what you did see today but the questioning, does it tell you they could rule in a more broader sense or a more narrow sense. >> if they decide the sponsors lack standing that would be pretty narrow. that would send the case back to the trial court and the coupleless who filed would probably get their marriage licenses, i think they definitely would. whether other people and how much more broadly the ruling
would have any connect is complicated and open to question. i depth see a lot of justice who wanted to invalidate the law prohibiting same sex marriage. it's still possible. you look at the obama care oral argument, nobody would have predicted that. if you are -- i didn't see a lot of support for a broad ruling favor of same sex marriage. >> we will check back with you later. >> some say there are at least five possible outcomes when the justice assonance their decision some time in june. we looked at how they could affect more than just california. one the court could up hold proposition 8, allowing states to legally limit marriagel cole did the -- the court could say
states aren't allowed to discriminate, a broad ruling like this would effect the 41 states that currently ban same sex marriage. three, the court could side step the merits itself and decide that once a state has offered gay couples the same rights as straight couples such as in a domestic partnership there is no reason to deny the status of marriage. this kind of ruling would affect the eight states with civil union laws including california. they treat same sex couples like straight couples in all ways but one. four, the justices could agree with the lower court cans ruling that once a state has allowed same sex couples to marry and given them all the rights of straight couples there is no legal justification for taking away that right as proposition 8 did casting a ruling this way would only affect california. five, the court could dismiss the appeal on grounds that the
backers of the proposition don't have legal standing to challenge the lower court's ruling. in this situation the appeals court ruling could be vacated on the same grounds letting the district's ruling stand marriages to start here in california. >> a national poll on the question of same sex marriage shows just how much public opinion has shifted. a poll finds 58% of americans think it should be legal. just 36% of those polled think it should be illegal. you can see the dramatic reversal over the last decade in 2003 the same poll found support for same sex marriage at just 37% compared to 55%. the poll also finds support today is highest among young people but it's growing in all areas. some called the tug of war over marriage the key struggle of our time. >> its been fought on many fronts but it all started nine years ago here in the bay area.
it started here in san francisco eagled city hall where a band of officials took the step of challenging a law they were expected to enforce. february 12th. 2004 the mayor ordered the approval of marriage licenses to people of the same sex. cheering and angering many. now he said it started when he heard the president's 2004 state of the union address. >> the president said that he supported a congressional amendment to ban same sex marriage. all the sudden two days, three days later there were lines outside city hall, i remember driving, around the corner, my mouth dropped saying what's going on? >> the next day a sacramento man filed suit to stop the marriages. >> someone had to hold newsom
who violated his oath and state law, someone had to haled him responsible. >> reporter: the city attorney led the legal charge for san francisco. he recalls giving his legal counsel to the mayor. >> we put a team on it to look at it free every angle. >> the court issued a cease and desist order and invalidated the marriages that had happened. there are surprise, san francisco argued that the laws prosecute a violation of the state congressional and on may 15th 2008 the state court agreed with city firms. >> the door is wide open now. its going to happen. whether you like it or not. >> marriages between same sex couples started again in june
2008. that november california voters said they thought that was wrong and approved proposition 8 making the marriages illegal. the state court upheld a challenge to the new law and the messy fight went on to the battlegrounds of federal court where the judges ruled proposition 8 anagogessal. last year the court agreed to hear the case and perhaps make a final decision whether it's legal to ban or approve marriage between people people of the same sections. >> let's faulk about justice kennedy. he is considered the swing vote. any indication how he is leaning? >> first remember that oral arguments can be misleading. if you are focusing on oral he expressed discomfort over even taking the case which suggests he may be inclined to decide narrowly and maybe on the standing ground. he did say thing that were supportive of the same sex
couples, talking about the children but also on behalf of government that may want to proceed. you talked about 20 '2thousand years of experience without it and five-years with that states can make take it slow. >> seems like he want -- you think he wants more time? >> i think all the justices do not want to get dragged in. all of them realize that landscape is changing so fast that even two or three, four years may be a better backdrop in which to decide a major national question. that's why maybe the standing issue or something like it may be attractive to them. >> when we return, we go in depth with the two sides and talk to two of the key players in the legal wrangling. well, well, well.
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. you're looking at live pictures san francisco. outside california's supreme court building at civic center plaza. dozens of supporters gathered there at this hour. they are holding a vigil on this day as the nation's highest court considers california's marriage ban. joining us from washington dc tonight. two men in this legal battle. >> on the left, the city attorney for the city of san francisco, he has defended the city since those first marriage licenses were issued and on the right andy, is he the attorney for protect marriage.com which led the successful campaign for proposition 8 and has defended the initiative ever since. we start with you andy. what's your take away after today's hearing? >> good evening. today's hearing was a very welcome event for us. we really feel we were able to get all of our arguments out
that we wanted to address. we had good, thought of questions the justices, really for the first time we feel like we were in front of a fair tribunal. we have been up against a lot of hurdles in court in san francisco and in the 9th circuit and it was just gratifying to be in front of very smart judges. >> your impressions dennis of today's hearings. >> well, i have to say after being involved in this battle for nine years and at least for the last four in federal court making sure we put discrimination on trial. it was gratifyind to see the court question mr. cooper with respect to the motivations and the reasons behind why the proposition was proffered. it was very clear he had no argument whatsoever to justify
discrimination and that was gratifying to see that come out. >> let's ask andy about that. andy this is a constitutional question. what is the most powerful legal argument you that heard in court today on your side. >> i think that one of the biggest arguments is that reasonable people can have different views of what marriage means and what marriage is for. when that is the case that is an issue that we leave to the people and the legislative branch. that are elected representists and the democratic process. it's not something that we ask courts to intervene and put in their judgement for the judgement of the people. so, i think that separation of powers concept, the idea that is not something that the courts should impose nationwide and end prematurely a debate that has been going on and should be allowed to run its course. >> dennis same question. the strongest argument on your
side of the case. >> i couldn't agree more with what andy said about the separation of powers. we have a constitutional and we have an equal protection clause to take out minorities debates subject to the [inaudible] that may want to discriminate against them. we have said there is no reason why proposition 8 should be judged to be constitutional and it's a violation of equal protection because going back for over one hundred years the united states court had said that marriage is a fundamental right and i think ted olson spoke about that today and i was very gratitude to see he had the ability to put forth the argument and i think he did in great. >> this went to you. if the court issues a narrow rules, something that only affects california are there other legal avenues to pursue?
>> well, we -- as you were -- aware and with the co counsel, ted olson, we put the full group of issues before the high court and while we fully support a broad 50 state ruling that subjects proposition 8 to scrutiny we made sure we provided them with another opposite. a california focused option. i -- they asked whichs about that and obviously whatever decision they make and how they fashion it, whether it's an eight state solution, as the solicitor general has talked about or a california focused decision or a broad ruling, the legal reasoning, lying beyond that, equal protection is fundamental to any of the remedies regardless of how broad they may fashion it. i'm not going to predict exactly how the court is going to come out but we think that the equal protection argument is strong and will have vitality not just in california but across the country. >> andy your final response.
>> well, i think this has been a very long road and your program earlier detailed the many years and many twists and turns this case has taken and i think it'll be good for the initiative process and for the people's confidence in their system of government, hopefully in june we will have a ruling from the court, saying this is something that the court shouldn't -- impose on the people of california or the ensure country and that -- the democratic process should be allowed to work itself out and that's where the debate belongs. that's what we look forward to in june. >> andy, dennis, live in washington dc. thank you for joining us. >> outside the court today the two couples named in the lawsuit challenging proposition 8 spoke about love and family. one couple -- from berkeley have been together for 13 years and have raised four boys
including twin 18-year-old's. today they said equality under the law is the cor issue in the case. >> i believe in love. and -- proposition 8 is a discrimination law that hurts people, it hurts gays, in california and it hurts the children we are raising and it does so for no good reason. >> i just want to say how -- how incredibly proud we are of our parents. we love them. we love our family, and we look forward to the day when we will be treated equally just like our neighbors families. >> they said they are thrilled to get the opportunity to bring this case to the court. >> dozens of briefs have been filed on both sides because the court's ruling could extend beyond california and affect every state in the country. defebruarying the proposition are churches and faith bases os including the mormon church and catholic bishops who say it's
infringing on their freedom of religion which opposes same sex marriage. public interest groups argue it should stand because it's what the people voted for. family groups say proposition 8 protects children through traditional marriage. as we look on even some conversatives say proposition 8 should be overturned, prominent republicans including meg whittman the hp leader, form -- lity todd whittman and clint east wood, they have all joined more than a hundred other republicans who support same sex marriage. though there are 41 states that are also involved in this case, only 20 of them have filed briefs defending the ban. there is a growing list of companies supporting same sex marriage saying it's good for business. the bay area firms on that list include clorax, gag. facebook and hp.
david. >> for same sex couples the debate over doma is about marriage key allot and economic justice. >> it was good. we were so busy. >> they have been a couple for 23 years and married for five. but they say they have been denied the same benefits given to straight couples for far to long. >> just a matter of time, before there is full equality. >> the defense of marriage act signed into law by the president in 1996 defines marriage as between a man and a woman. it bars the nation's estimated 114,000 same sex married couples from enjoying many federal benefits such as filing joint income taxes and social security for surviving spouses. >> that's amounted to over $10,000 in additional tax liability for us just in the last 13 years, just for medical benefits. >> same sex marriage has gone from being a primary wedge
issue to really being something that is less hotly debated. >> the obama administration is declining to defend doma and analysts say shifting legal attitudes have left important supporterrered ha pressed. >> people don't want their neighbors marry and jane not to be able to not have the same rights and i think that's a big part. >> if it's overturned eric and lawrence say they may celebrate with another wedding ceremony. >> i would like to legally get married where i'm recognized through all 50 states. i can go anywhere and be recognized for a change. >> and we will bring you a live report outside the supreme court and inside tomorrow morning at 5:15 a.m. on channel 2. for now reporting live in washington dc. david stevenson .