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Appeals court denies gay marriage supporters' bid for Prop. 8 communications


A federal appeals court panel today denied gay marriage supporters' demands to see internal campaign communications among Proposition 8 supporters, ruling that to do so would violate the 1st Amendment's guarantee of freedom of association.

Lawyers for two gay couples challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the voter initiative in California that banned same-sex marriage after a five-month period last year when it was legal, had sought disclosure of e-mails and other communications to show that backers of the ballot measure had tried to create "discriminatory animus" against homosexuals.

The decision of the appeals court panel, composed of three judges appointed by President Bill Clinton, reverses rulings by District Court Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco ordering the initiative's supporters to disclose their campaign strategy.

Proposition 8 has been upheld by the California Supreme Court as a legal amendment to the state Constitution. The suit brought in Walker's federal courtroom, by a gay couple in Burbank and a lesbian couple in Berkeley, alleges violations of the federal Constitution's guarantees of equal protection and due process.

The couples' case is scheduled for trial before Walker on Jan. 11.

--Carol J. Williams

Use The Times' interactive map to track changes in rights for same sex couples in the U.S. since 2000

Click to view Times interactive map on gay marriage

Photo: L.A. Times

Comments () | Archives (34)

Hooray for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals! This is a major turn-around in the most reversed appellate court in the Nation.

I believe that gay marriage supports need to rethink their tactics of harassment and intimidation of their opponents. The post Prop 8 actions that cost people their jobs for sending a donation of as little as $100 are abhorrent.

Many of us care more about the freedom to vote and support political opinions of our conscience than we do about individual propositions on the California ballot.

These attacks will move more people away from their cause that it will intimidate their opponents into backing down.

For once the courts get it right. It's not discrimination to say that being a homosexual is deviant, un-natural, sick, disgusting, immoral and so on. What is discrimination is my not letting them buy food from my restaurant, treating them if they are sick, forcing them to the back of a bus........etc. God hates the sinful behavior of men/women. He loves the person........hates the sin. Sexaul sin is just that.........sexual.......doesn't discriminate against heterosexuals or homosexuals. It is wrong......and always will be wrong.......even if the laws get changed later.......God's laws never change. Neither does His forgiveness. Problem is..........they don't think that they are doing anything wrong. The blind lead the blind and they all fall in the ditch.

Great decision...justice has been served!!

The voters of California have spoken and the losing side needs to deal with it...

Does that mean that Prop 8 supporters can't file a suit to see every email and internal communication of Prop 8 opponents? I'll bet there's plenty of 'hate' to be found there.

This was just another effort by the Pink Mafia to harrass Prop. 8 supporters. They're relentless. Glad the court saw through it.

Only a fascist would demand to see the private correspondence f others with different political views.

Good for the appeals court in quashing this undemocratic attempt to silence opposing views.

It wasnt too long ago that I thought it was the conservatives who wanted to quash private thought. But now its obvious that its the leftists and liberals who will attempt to use legal action to silence dissent.

Imagine that. A District Court judge in San Francisco being overruled by a three member Appeals Court panel from the planet earth.


It's a two way street people! I guarantee you'll find just as much (likely more) "discriminatory animus" against traditional marriage from the gay community. These unfortunate souls want so badly to be considered "normal" that they feel compelled to stomp all over the traditional values and mores that made this country great.

Never have I seen the political behavior of a group of people so different than their personal behavior. It's as if once they put on their political mask they forget how to behave. I suspect that if you gave them everything they asked for, they would just ask for more, because the important thing is to provoke and create a situation where they guarantee they will be rejected by society, so that their exterior reality will match how they feel inside. I believe - and I know this is not what any homosexual wants to hear - that their sexuality is a response to emotional pain, and no law can fix that. This is a generalization of course, but we are talking politics, not about individuals. Not all homosexuals feel this way, but enough do to compose a political entity and give it a character.

Very good - and the gay-marriage proponents should have for long worried about the images of abusive crowds besieging the mormon temple on santa Monica, or causing the firing the El Coyote managers and of the Los Angeles film festival director have left in California and elsewhere. The fact that the general population does not openly display dismay at those acts doesn't mean that it doesn't see in that request anything else but an attempt at gaining another intimidation tool in this affair -

Nice to know there is still some sanity out there.

This time around, unfortunately, I will probably support Prop. 8 as will many others after seeing the viscious campaign by some in the "Gay" communitee against those who don't support gay marriage. Unreal what I have seen. Sorry to my gay friends.(I suppose the fanatics will figure out some way to find out who I am and try to destroy me too) What has happened to our country?

This decision was the right one to make. Walker's earlier ruling was a threat to EVERYONE. I should not be able to get access to the private communications of those who want to change marriage licensing, either. Click my name to read what I had already written about this matter.

If you want to change state marriage licening, convince us. Don't try to bully us.

has nobody realized that gays have the same right as i have a gay man can marry a woman as well as a lesbian can marry a man ??

Mike wrote: "It's not discrimination to say that being a homosexual is deviant, un-natural, sick, disgusting, immoral and so on."

Mike it is discrimination if Prop 8 is based on your bias against a group of citizens. The court over ruled the lower count based on the 1st Amendment's guarantee of freedom of association. It doesn't mean that the court agrees that you have the right violate the Fourteenth Amendment.

"KW" makes an excellent point...the increasingly brazen intimidation tactics of the radical gay lobby can only hurt the cause of gay marriage in California and elsewhere.

Independents and fence-sitters can only be appalled by these heavy-handed tactics employed by the radical gays who drive the gay marriage movement. Gay marriage supporters in California would be very foolish if they push for another vote in 2010...not only because of bad publicity from the intimidation tactics, but also the surprisingly one-sided vote AGAINST gay marriage in the normally liberal New York State legislature!!

You people that supported this are the sick and immoral ones. Pushing your "morals and values" on people who don't want them. Who are you to say what two people can do with their relationship? What if the situation were reversed and heterosexual couples were forbidden marriage? How would you react? The same way those who were fighting so hard to keep this proposition from passing fought I'm sure. And don't give me that saving traditional marriage bull. If you weren't aware of it already the divorce rate among you traditionalists is at an all time high. A bunch of hypocrites. All of you.

I'm just waiting for all you close minded bigots to start dying off so progress can really start.

As a gay man, I must point out that the only way any sort of voter approved gay marriage will take place is if you win the hearts and minds of the voter. You're not helping your cause by trying to usurp the will of the people or harrassing those who have a different point of view. These so-called rights groups do not speak for me, have never spoken for me, and are nothing more than facists hellbent on installing THEIR agenda on everyone. I believe in freedom of speech and freedom of those who see the world differently to have their rights as well, not to be called things they may not be.

Matthew 7:5
"...first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."
Romans 3 and 4

Oh, brother. The simple fact of the matter is that government involvement in matters religious (in other words, "marriage", which is different from a civil union), is unconstitutional. The government is not allowed to involve itself in matters that endorse a particular religious view. A civil union is the only form of legal contract that can be recognized. Marriage must be seperated from civil unions.

Warren, and others:

"Discrimination" is a good thing. What is not good is "illegal discrimination." Please understand the words we are using properly. The laws of our nation clearly state what is "illegal discrimination." Only those things specified in the law are illegal discrimination.

Look up the meaning of "discrimination" in a good dictionary. It's not a bad thing by a long shot, in itself. We discriminate every day of our lives and ought to rejoice in that ability. If we didn't discriminate all the time, we'd all be noshing on rat poison or crossing the street while juggling.

Age wrote " I guarantee you'll find just as much (likely more) "discriminatory animus" against traditional marriage from the gay community."

In regards to the comment by "Age," As a straight person I have to say that, what you are saying is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. No gay person on this entire planet has ever campaigned against heterosexual marriage. No gay person has ever tried to convince a straight person that they should switch teams. And no gay person has ever tried to stomp on "traditional values." Prop 8 is absolutely appalling and all you religious "god fearing" people in support of prop 8, are going against EVERYTHING your "savior" has ever taught. Are you not supposed to be accepting and loving? Aren't you supposed to love thy neighbor? And doesn't god create people as individuals to his will? As an atheist I am obviously a million times more "christian" than all of you posting these comments. You christian fanatics have only proven yourselves to be close minded bigots yet again, and in the future, the history books will write about you the same way they now write about the KKK (who, might I add, were just as "religious" as you).

Isn't it time we stop condemning people for being different from us?

they did the right thing.

well i tell ya the people speak and its clear they want traditional marriage the way God has always intended marriage to be between 1man+one women=marriage. and everyone needs to learn that. i support traditional marriage myself. cause god made man then women. not man then man or women then women. nope he made man then he made women. so they did the right thing. they are preserving marriage the way it has always been meant to be and should always be.

Pretty amazing that a California judge actually looks at the law instead of their Politically Correct (liberal) agenda in making a decision.

If we're lucky, some judge might actually tell Obama that he can no longer hide his personal birth/school records.

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