Same Gender Marriage
Today we leave Los Angeles on an historic civil rights journey to San Francisco to argue before the California Supreme Court that our clients, two same gender couples, should enjoy the right to marry in California and that the current ban on such marriages is unconstitutional.
On February 12, 2004, when Robin Tyler and Diane Olson and another same sex couple (Rev. Troy Perry and his life partner, Phillip Ray DeBlieck), were denied a license to marry in Beverly Hills because each couple was of the same gender we filed the first lawsuit in California for them (Tyler v. L.A. County) challenging the constitutionality of that denial and we fought to compel the issuance of the licenses. (February 23, 2004) In December of 2004, I argued our case before Judge Richard Kramer in San Francisco, where the case had been transferred and consolidated with other cases filed after our case was filed. On March 2005 we won our historic case but the California Court of Appeals reversed that decision. Recently, the California Supreme Court accepted this case and five others for review, and we will argue our case before the Supreme Court tomorrow March 4, 2008 at 9:00 A.M. in San Francisco.
Both couples have been in loving, committed, long-term, stable relationships. They were seeking all of the legal rights and responsibilities which the law recognizes in "marriage." Unfortunately, Los Angeles County has denied them the right to marry the person of their choice.
The lawsuits which were previously litigated in San Francisco challenged the issuance of the marriage license by the County of San Francisco before there was a judicial declaration that the statute was unconstitutional. Our lawsuit, in contrast, challenges the denial of the marriage license by Los Angeles County and it goes to the core of the question of the constitutionality of the law defining marriage as a contract between a man and a woman.
We are proud of our clients who were the first in the state to file a lawsuit challenging that denial.
Sixty years ago our California Supreme Court declared that a law prohibiting interracial marriage was unconstitutional (Perez v. Sharp decided in 1948). We argue that landmark precedent and its reasoning should allow persons who are lesbian or gay to also marry the person of their choice.
We are proud to represent these courageous couples who are simply seeking the equal right to marry the person that they love. We look forward to vindicating their rights in the California Supreme Court and making sure that as a result of our history making lawsuit that they are no longer denied that fundamental right to marry.
Attorney at Law
Robin Tyler and Diane Olson
Rev. Troy Perry and Phillip Ray De Blieck
March 3, 2008