As I mentioned earlier today, there was action in federal court in California today on the Prop. 8 case brought by Ted Olson and David Boies. A trial date has been set:
A judge has set a Jan. 11 trial date for a federal lawsuit challenging California’s gay marriage ban.
At a status hearing Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker also barred advocacy groups from joining the lawsuit, filed on behalf of two gay couples seeking to marry in California.
Three gay rights groups had petitioned to join on the plaintiffs’ side, and an anti-gay marriage group had asked to intervene on the side of Proposition 8 supporters. Walker denied their petitions.
Walker did allow the city of San Francisco to join the case, but only to assess Proposition 8′s impact on local government.
As you might expect, the gay groups aren’t happy about this exclusion. Via press release:
A statement by Lambda Legal, the ACLU and the National Center for Lesbian Rights:
On behalf of our clients, we are disappointed that the court did not permit organizations that represent California’s diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community to participate in the case as the Court weighs the harms inflicted by Proposition 8. The significance of this case for our entire community is enormous. To exclude the people whose very freedom is at stake is troubling.
Our commitment to restoring marriage for all Californians is unwavering, and we will continue to do everything within our power to secure full equality and justice for LGBT people.
Here’s the thing: I want to win. If Boies and Olson can win this thing — and we’ve got two of the nation’s top lawyers here — let them win it. I have great respect for the gay legal groups, but I don’t think the cases exclude those “whose very freedom is at stake.” The plaintiffs are same-sex couples. This is, at its core, a case about our rights — and it doesn’t matter which groups are in or out.
Again, I want to win. We can’t lose sight of the ultimate objective even if that interferes with the missions of some groups.