May 22, 2009
The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), a nonprofit organization set up specifically to challenge the constitutionality of Proposition 8, files a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of two couples, Kristin Perry and Sandra Stier, of Alameda, and Paul Katami and Jeffrey Zarrillo, of Burbank. Both couples had been denied marriage licenses by their respective county authorities on the basis of their sexual orientation, as Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment passed in 2008, had amended the California Constitution to recognize marriages only between a man and a woman.
Representing the plaintiffs are Ted Olson and David Boies, two well-known attorneys who had been on opposite sides of the landmark Bush v. Gore case that decided the 2000 presidential election. Prop 8, the plaintiffs and their lawyers assert in the complaint, “relegates same-sex unions to the separate-but-unequal institution of domestic partnership” and “denies them the basic liberties and equal protection under the law that are guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.” AFER and the plaintiffs ask the court for an order prohibiting enforcement of Prop 8, alleging both due process and equal protection infringements.