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California same-sex couples on high alert once again

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Sacramento organizations plan events around Prop 8 Supreme Court decision

It has been a long road for Sacramento’s same-sex couples, their families, friends, and supporters, and that road may or may not end this week.

The Supreme Court justices will go behind closed doors Friday morning to decide if they will take on the case of Proposition 8 (Hollingsworth v. Perry), if the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the State of California from defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

At the same conference session Friday, the court will work their way through several appeals to decide whether legally married gay couples have the right to equal benefits under federal law. Appeals courts in New York and Boston have struck down that part of the Defense of Marriage Act that denies such a right and the justices most likely will take up the case.

Ted Olson and David Boise who successfully argued the striking of Prop 8 as a constitutional issue here in California have mixed feelings about the upcoming decision.

Olson stated on the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) web site, “We won the case, and if they don’t take it, our clients have won. They will be allowed to marry. But if they (Supreme Court) take the case, it could lead to a broader victory. We believe gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to be treated equally. And if it is a constitutional right, you shouldn’t have to try to win at the ballot box in every state.”

Here in Sacramento there are many same-sex couples who have been waiting for the day they will be able to join the rest of the citizens of California and have the right to legally marry. They have had many up’s and downs. While it would be great if the Supreme Court did hear the Prop 8 case, that would mean at least another year of waiting. If the court decides not to hear the case, in a matter of about a week, our local County Clerk’s Office will be issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples

In anticipation of Friday’s conference, local organizations are gearing up for a positive outcome.

As the Public Relations Director for B.R.A.V.E. Society, a local anti-bullying non-profit, I will host a community breakfast, both Friday and Monday, Chef Tony Crane is happy to have us at his new Restaurant inside of Headhunter’s (1930 K St., Sacramento, CA 95811) beginning at 6:00am.

Because of the long list of cases the Supreme Court needs to review Friday, it is expected that they will wait until Monday, December 3, as early as 6:30am (Pacific) to post the decision to their web site. Friday’s breakfast gathering will be to keep an eye on the news, and to talk about what life will be like when California LGBTQ citizens regain their civil rights.

Monday, December 3, soon after the decision is made, no matter what that decision will be, the Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Center will host a Press Conference. Leaders of Equality Action NOW (EAN), a local civil rights group and Marriage Equality USA (MEUSA), a statewide organization is organizing this event. Speakers and the time of the Press Conference will be announced during the breakfast at Headhunters.

Also on Monday, if the court turns down the hearing of Prop 8 leading the way for marriage equality here in California, MEUSA and EAN will host a celebratory rally at the Sacramento Gay and Lesbian Center, currently slated for 6:00pm.

For more information feel free to contact, Ken Pierce kpierce8272@yahoo.com, or Enrique Manjarrez Enrique@equalityactionnow.org.

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