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NO. 10-16696

ORAL ARGUMENT SCHEDULED FOR DECEMBER 6, 2010


UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT
KRISTIN PERRY, et al.,
Plaintiffs-Appellees,
v.
ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, et al.
Defendants,
and
DENNIS HOLLINGSWORTH, et al.,
Defendant-Intervenors-Appellants.

Appeal from United States District Court for the Northern District of California
Civil Case No. 09-CV-2292 VRW (Honorable Vaughn R. Walker)

DEFENDANT-INTERVENORS-APPELLANTS’
REPLY BRIEF

Andrew P. Pugno Charles J. Cooper


LAW OFFICES OF ANDREW P. PUGNO David H. Thompson
101 Parkshore Drive, Suite 100 Howard C. Nielson, Jr.
Folsom, California 95630 Peter A. Patterson
(916) 608-3065; (916) 608-3066 Fax COOPER AND KIRK, PLLC
1523 New Hampshire Ave., N.W.
Brian W. Raum Washington, D.C. 20036
James A. Campbell (202) 220-9600; (202) 220-9601 Fax
ALLIANCE DEFENSE FUND
15100 North 90th Street
Scottsdale, Arizona 85260
(480) 444-0020; (480) 444-0028 Fax
Attorneys for Defendant-Intervenors-Appellants Hollingsworth, Knight, Gutierrez,
Jansson, and ProtectMarriage.com
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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page

INTRODUCTION .....................................................................................................1

ARGUMENT .............................................................................................................5

I. PROPONENTS HAVE STANDING. ........................................................................5

II. THE DISTRICT COURT LACKED JURISDICTION TO GRANT INJUNCTIVE


RELIEF TO PERSONS NOT BEFORE THE COURT.................................................9

III. BINDING PRECEDENT FORECLOSES PLAINTIFFS’ CLAIMS. ..............................15

IV. THIS COURT OWES NO DEFERENCE TO THE DISTRICT COURT’S RULING........20

V. THE TRADITIONAL DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE DOES NOT VIOLATE


PLAINTIFFS’ FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT TO MARRY..............................................26

VI. PROPOSITION 8 IS SUBJECT TO RATIONAL BASIS SCRUTINY UNDER


THE EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE...................................................................35

A. Binding precedent establishes that gays and lesbians do not


constitute a suspect or quasi-suspect class. .........................................35

B. Homosexuality is a complex and amorphous phenomenon,


distinguishing gays and lesbians from other classes the Supreme
Court has recognized as suspect or quasi-suspect...............................38

C. Plaintiffs misapprehend the requirements for heightened protection


under the Equal Protection Clause. .....................................................40

D. Gays and lesbians do not meet the requirements for suspect or


quasi-suspect classification. ................................................................42

History of Discrimination....................................................................42
Immutability.........................................................................................43
Political Power....................................................................................44


 
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E. Proposition 8 does not discriminate on the basis of sex. ................... 49

VII. PROPOSITION 8 ADVANCES VITAL STATE INTERESTS, AND THUS PLAINLY


SATISFIES RATIONAL BASIS REVIEW. .............................................................50

A. Rational basis review is not limited to economic legislation. .............52

B. Proposition 8 is closely related to California’s vital interest in


responsible procreation and childrearing. ...........................................52
 
C. Proposition 8 advances California’s interest in proceeding with
caution when considering a fundamental change to a vital social
institution.............................................................................................67

D. Proposition 8’s rationality is not undermined by its alleged effects


on gays and lesbians and their children...............................................70

VIII. NOTHING IN CALIFORNIA LAW NOR THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING


ITS ENACTMENT RENDERS PROPOSITION 8 UNCONSTITUTIONAL....................75

A. The circumstances that led to Proposition 8’s enactment do not


distinguish it from the laws of other states that protect the
traditional definition of marriage. .......................................................75

B. Proposition 8 is not irrational in light of other California laws. .........80

C. The campaign to pass Proposition 8 does not undermine its


constitutionality. ..................................................................................85

CONCLUSION........................................................................................................92

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TABLE OF AUTHORITIES
Cases Page
Adams v. Howerton, 486 F. Supp. 2d 1119 (1980), aff’d on other grounds,
673 F.2d 1036 (9th Cir. 1982) ............................................................................59
Adams v. Howerton, 673 F.2d 1036 (9th Cir. 1982)..........................................15, 19
Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena, 515 U.S. 200 (1995)......................................40
Agostini v. Felton, 521 U.S. 203 (1997) ..................................................................16
Arizonans for Official English v. Arizona, 520 U.S. 43 (1997).............................6, 9
Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Hous. Dev. Corp., 429 U.S. 252 (1977) ............9
Arthur v. Toledo, 782 F.2d 565 (6th Cir. 1986).......................................................86
Baker v. Baker, 13 Cal. 87 (1859) .............................................................................2
Baker v. Nelson, 409 U.S. 810 (1972) ...............................................................15, 73
Baker v. State, 744 A.2d 864 (Vt. 1999)..................................................................49
Board of Trustees of the Univ. of Ala. v. Garrett,
531 U.S. 356 (2001)......................................................................3, 52, 55, 74, 89
Boddie v. Connecticut, 401 U.S. 371 (1971) ...........................................................32
Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U.S. 186 (1986) ..............................................................36
Bresgal v. Brock, 843 F.2d 1163 (9th Cir. 1988) ....................................................11
Brown v. Board of Educ., 347 U.S. 483 (1954).................................................22, 82
Brown v. Trustees of Boston Univ., 891 F.2d 337 (1st Cir. 1989)...........................12
Carpenters Pension Trust v. Kronschnabel, 632 F.2d 745 (9th Cir. 1980) ............15
Christian Legal Soc’y v. Martinez, 130 S. Ct. 2971 (2010) ....................................37
Christian Science Reading Room Jointly Maintained v. San Francisco,
784 F.2d 1010 (9th Cir. 1986) ............................................................................42
Citizens for Equal Prot. v. Bruning, 455 F.3d 859 (8th Cir. 2006) .............36, 53, 54
City and County of San Francisco v. Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Educ.
Fund, 128 Cal. App. 4th 1030 (2005)...................................................................7
City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Ctr., 473 U.S. 432 (1985)......39, 45, 52, 54, 56
City of Richmond v. J. A. Croson Co., 488 U.S. 469 (1989) ...................................46
Cleveland Bd. of Educ. v. La Fleur, 414 U.S. 632 (1974).......................................31

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Cohen v. Beneficial Indus. Loan Corp., 337 U.S. 541 (1949).................................10


Cook v. Gates, 528 F.3d 42 (1st Cir. 2008) .............................................................36
Coyote Publ’g, Inc. v. Miller, 598 F.3d 592 (9th Cir. 2010) .............................78, 84
Crawford v. Board of Educ., 458 U.S. 527 (1982) ......................................76, 79, 86
District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct. 2783 (2008)...........................................28
Doe v. Gallinot, 657 F.2d 1017 (9th Cir. 1981) ......................................................12
Don’t Bankrupt Washington Comm. v. Continental Ill. Nat’l
Bank of Chicago, 460 U.S. 1077 (1983)..............................................................6
Dunagin v. City of Oxford, 718 F.2d 738 (5th Cir. 1983) .................................21, 24
Easyriders Freedom F.I.G.H.T. v. Hannigan, 92 F.3d 1486 (9th Cir. 1996)..........12
Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S. 438 (1972) ................................................................32
Equality Found. of Greater Cincinnati v. Cincinnati, 128 F.3d 289
(6th Cir. 1997)...............................................................................................38, 86
Equality Found. of Greater Cincinnati, Inc. v. City of Cincinnati, 54 F.3d 261
(6th Cir. 1995), vacated on other grounds, 518 U.S. 1001 (1996) ....................24
Everhart v. Bowen, 853 F.2d 1532 (10th Cir. 1988),
rev’d on other grounds sub nom, Sullivan v. Everhart, 494 U.S. 83 (1990)......12
FCC v. Beach Commc’ns, Inc., 508 U.S. 307 (1993)..................................51, 52, 84
Flores v. Morgan Hill Unified Sch. Dist., 324 F.3d 1130 (9th Cir. 2003) ..............38
Frontiero v. Richardson, 411 U.S. 677 (1973)............................................18, 41, 48
Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965)........................................................32
Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003)...............................................................22
Grutter v. Bollinger, 137 F. Supp. 2d 821 (E.D. Mich. 2001) ................................22
Hart v. Massanari, 266 F.3d 1155 (9th Cir. 2001)..................................................17
Heller v. Doe, 509 U.S. 312 (1993) .......................................... 25, 51, 52, 53, 56, 57
Hernandez-Montiel v. INS, 225 F.3d 1084 (9th Cir. 2000) .....................................38
Hicks v. Miranda, 422 U.S. 332 (1975)...................................................................16
High Tech Gays v. Defense Indus. Serv. Clearing Office,
895 F.2d 563 (9th Cir. 1990) ........................................ 35, 37, 38, 40, 42, Passim
Holloway v. Arthur Andersen & Co., 566 F.2d 659 (9th Cir. 1977) .......................39

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Horne v. Flores, 129 S. Ct. 2579 (2009) .................................................................14


Hunter v. Erickson, 393 U.S. 385 (1969) ................................................................86
Hunter v. Regents of the Univ. of Cal., 190 F.3d 1061
(9th Cir. 1999).....................................................................................................24
In re Marriage Cases, 183 P.3d 384 (Cal. 2008) ............................................7, 8, 49
In re Marriage Cases, No. S147999,
2008 Cal. LEXIS 6807 (Cal. June 4, 2008)........................................................78
In re Marriage Cases, 143 Cal. App. 4th 873 (Cal. Ct. App. 2006),
rev’d, 183 P.3d 384 (Cal. 2008) .........................................................................74
James v. Valtierra, 402 U.S. 137 (1971) ...........................................................23, 86
Johnson v. Johnson, 385 F.3d 503 (5th Cir. 2004)..................................................36
Johnson v. Robison, 415 U.S. 361 (1974) .............................................40, 43, 54, 71
Karcher v. May, 484 U.S. 72 (1987) .........................................................................5
Larson v. Volente, 456 U.S. 228 (1982) ..................................................................13
Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003).....................................................17, 30, 31
Lazy Y Ranch Ltd. v. Behrens, 546 F.3d 580 (9th Cir. 2008) ..................................25
Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343 (1996).......................................................................13
Lockary v Kayfetz, 917 F.2d 1150 (9th Cir. 1990) ..................................................26
Locke v. Davey, 540 U.S. 712 (2004) ......................................................................42
Lockhart v. McCree, 476 U.S. 162 (1986).........................................................21, 23
Lofton v. Secretary of the Dep’t of Children & Family, 358 F.3d 804
(11th Cir. 2004)...................................................................................................36
Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967) .....................................................2, 17, 47, 49
Maher v. Roe, 432 U.S. 464 (1977) .........................................................................52
Marshall v. Sawyer, 365 F.2d 105 (9th Cir. 1966) ..................................................21
Massachusetts Bd. of Retirement v. Murgia, 427 U.S. 307 (1976) ...................52, 58
McCreary County v. ACLU of Kentucky, 545 U.S. 844 (2005) ..............................85
McDonald v. City of Chicago, 130 S. Ct. 3020 (2010) ...........................................29
McKinnon v. Patterson, 568 F.2d 930 (2d Cir. 1977) .............................................13
Meinhold v. U.S. Dep’t of Defense, 34 F.3d 1469 (9th Cir. 1994) ..........................11


 
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Michael M. v. Superior Court, 450 U.S. 464 (1981) ...................................57, 60, 89


Miller v. Gammie, 335 F.3d 889 (9th Cir. 2003) .....................................................20
Miller v. Johnson, 515 U.S. 900 (1995)...................................................................47
Moore v. City of East Cleveland, 431 U.S. 494 (1977) ...........................................32
Nguyen v. INS, 533 U.S. 53 (2001)....................................................................51, 59
Nyquist v. Mauclet, 432 U.S. 1 (1977).....................................................................41
Parham v. Hughes, 441 U.S. 347 (1979).................................................................42
Parker v. Hurley, 514 F.3d 87 (1st Cir. 2008).........................................................87
Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982)....................................................................23, 75
Price-Cornelison v. Brooks, 524 F.3d 1103 (10th Cir. 2008) .................................36
Railroad Retirement Bd. v. Fritz, 449 U.S. 166 (1980)...........................................92
Reed v. Reed, 404 U.S. 71 (1971) ............................................................................18
Regents of Univ. of Cal. v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265 (1978)..........................................41
Reitman v. Mulkey, 387 U.S. 369 (1967).................................................................77
Reno v. ACLU, 521 U.S. 844 (1997)........................................................................23
Rodriguez de Quijas v. Shearson/American Express, Inc.,
490 U.S. 477 (1989)............................................................................................16
Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620 (1996) ...................................... 18, 51, 32, 57, 76, 86
San Antonio Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 1 (1973) ..............................40
Scarbrough v. Morgan County Bd. of Educ., 470 F.3d 250 (6th Cir. 2006) ...........36
Seattle School Dist. No. 1 v. Washington, 633 F.2d 1338 (9th Cir. 1980) ..............86
Service Employees Int’l Union v. Fair Political Practice Comm’n,
955 F.2d 1312 (9th Cir. 1992) ............................................................................23
Sharpe v. Cureton, 319 F.3d 259 (6th Cir. 2003) ....................................................12
Southern Alameda Spanish Speaking Organization v. Union City, 424 F.2d 291
(9th Cir. 1970).....................................................................................................85
Sprint Commc’ns Co., L.P. v. APCC Servs., 128 S. Ct. 2531 (2010)......................10
State Oil Co. v. Khan, 522 U.S. 3 (1997) ................................................................16
Strauss v. Horton, 207 P.3d 48 (Cal. 2009).................................6, 75, 77, 78, 79, 83
Tully v. Griffin, Inc., 429 U.S. 68 (1976).................................................................15

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Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78 (1987) .................................................................17, 31


United States v. $124,570 U.S. Currency, 873 F.2d 1240 (9th Cir. 1989)..............21
United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515 (1996) .......................................................22
Vacco v. Quill, 521 U.S. 793 (1997)........................................................................56
Valdivia v. Schwarzenegger, 599 F.3d 984 (9th Cir. 2010) ....................................21
Valtierra v. Housing Auth. of San Jose, 313 F. Supp. 1 (N.D. Cal. 1970) ..............23
Vance v. Bradley, 440 U.S. 93 (1979) ...................................................34, 55, 57, 58
Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490 (1975) ......................................................................10
Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702 (1997) ..............................................27, 52
Washington v. Seattle Sch. Dist. No. 1, 458 U.S. 457 (1982)..................................86
Williamson v. Lee Optical, 348 U.S. 483 (1955)...............................................58, 74
Witt v. Department of the Air Force, 527 F.3d 806 (9th Cir. 2008)..................36, 38
Woodward v. United States, 871 F.2d 1068 (Fed. Cir. 1989) .................................37
Yocum v. Greenbriar Nursing Home, 130 P.3d 213 (Okla. 2005) ..........................24
Zablocki v. Redhail, 434 U.S. 374 (1978) .........................................................17, 31
Zepeda v. INS, 753 F.2d 719 (9th Cir. 1983)...............................................10, 11, 12
Statutes and Rules
18 U.S.C. § 249........................................................................................................47
18 U.S.C. § 249(a)(2)...............................................................................................46
CAL. EDUC. CODE § 51933(b)(7)..............................................................................87
CAL. FAM. CODE § 297.5..........................................................................................80
CAL. FAM. CODE § 308(b) ........................................................................................87
FED. R. CIV. P. 23 .....................................................................................................10
FED. R. EVID. 201(a).................................................................................................20
Other
DAVID BLANKENHORN, THE FUTURE OF MARRIAGE 127-69 (2007).........................68
David Boies, Gay Marriage and the Constitution, WSJ, July 20, 2009 ...................4
Equality California, 2009 Legislative Scorecard at 5-7, at
http://www.eqca.org/atf/cf/%7B34f258b3-8482-4943-91cb-
08c4b0246a88%7D/EQCA_LEG_SCORECARD_2009.PDF ..........................45
 
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FIONA TASKER, GROWING UP IN A LESBIAN FAMILY: EFFECTS ON CHILD


DEVELOPMENT 127-33 (1997) .............................................................................62

HRC, Statewide Employment Laws & Policies, available at


http://www.hrc.org/documents/Employment_Laws_and_Policies.pdf
(August 4, 2010) .................................................................................................47
HRC, The State of the Workplace at 4 (2009), available at
http://www.hrc.org/documents/HRC_Foundation_State_of_the_Workplace_
2007-2008.pdf (last visited August 4, 2010) ......................................................47
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/10/26/obama-appoints-
record-number-gay-officials/?test=latestnews....................................................46
http://www.hrc.org/scorecard/ ................................................................................45
Jonathan Capehart, Obama Begins Shift on Gay Marriage,
THE WASHINGTON POST, Oct. 28, 2010 ................................................................5
Judith Stacey & Timothy J. Biblarz, (How) Does the Sexual Orientation
of Parents Matter?, 66 AM. SOC. REV. 159 (2001) ............................................62
Judith Stacey & Timothy J. Biblarz, How Does the Gender of
Parents Matter? JOURNAL OF MARRIAGE AND FAMILY 3 (2010) .................62, 63
MCCORMICK ON EVIDENCE § 334 (6th ed., Kenneth Brown, ed. 2006) ..................21
Paul R. Amato, The Impact of Family Formation Change on the Cognitive,
Social, and Emotional Well-Being of the Next Generation,
15 FUTURE CHILD 75 (2005) ...............................................................................60
ROBERT L. STERN ET AL., SUPREME COURT PRACTICE 281 (8th ed. 2002)...............16
State Hate Crimes Laws, available at
http://www.hrc.org/documents/hate_crime_laws.pdf
(last visited August 4, 2010) ...............................................................................47
Wainright, J., Delinquency, Victimization, and Substance Use Among
Adolescents With Fame Same-Sex Parents, 20 JOURNAL OF FAMILY
PSYCHOLOGY 526, 528 (2006) ............................................................................62
William Meezan & Jonathan Rauch, Gay Marriage, Same-Sex Parenting,
and America’s Children, 15 FUTURE CHILDREN 97 (2005) ................................68
WITHERSPOON INSTITUTE, MARRIAGE AND THE PUBLIC GOOD 18-19 (2006) ..........68

 
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INTRODUCTION

At the heart of this case are two competing definitions of marriage. The

traditional definition of marriage—the one that has prevailed throughout recorded

history in virtually all known societies and that was preserved in California by

Proposition 8—holds that marriage is by its nature a gendered institution, for it is

designed to serve society’s vital interest in channeling potentially procreative

sexual relationships into enduring, stable unions for the sake of responsibly

producing and raising the next generation. As demonstrated in our opening brief,

Prop. Br. 47-70, this understanding of the social meaning and purpose of marriage

has been confirmed throughout history by all of the esteemed authorities on the

subject, from the lexicographers who have defined marriage, to the eminent

scholars in every relevant academic discipline who have explained marriage, to the

legislatures and courts that have given legal recognition and effect to marriage.

Plaintiffs, arguing that “gender restrictions … were never part of the

historical core of the institution of marriage,” Pl. Br. 47 (quoting ER148), offer a

competing definition of marriage that is carefully framed to be genderless:

“marriage is ‘a couple’s choice to live with each other, to remain committed to one

another, and to form a household based on their own feelings about one another,

and their agreement to join in an economic partnership and support one another in

terms of the material needs of life.’ ” Pl. Br. 47 (quoting SER102 (Cott)). The

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central purposes served by marriage, Plaintiffs say, are the “ ‘promotion of the

happiness of the parties’ ” to the marriage, Pl. Br. 45 (quoting Baker v. Baker, 13

Cal. 87, 103 (1859)), and providing “state recognition and approval of a couple’s

choice” to marry. Pl. Br. 49 (quoting ER102). Plaintiffs’ genderless, adult-

centered understanding of the social meaning and purposes of marriage is a recent

academic invention; it can trace its pedigree no farther back than the modern

movement to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples. And because it

deliberately severs the abiding connection between marriage and the uniquely

procreative potential of male-female unions, Plaintiffs’ definition of marriage can

offer no explanation for why the institution is a ubiquitous, cross-cultural feature of

the human experience, nor why it is, as the Supreme Court has consistently

emphasized, “fundamental to our very existence and survival.” Loving v. Virginia,

388 U.S. 1, 12 (1967).

The issue here, however, is not which of these competing definitions of

marriage is the wiser, more prudent choice for the State of California and her

communities and people. That issue was before the voters of California in

November 2008, and they decided to preserve the traditional definition, at least for

now. The issue here is whether people of good will can differ in good faith over

these competing definitions of marriage. Plaintiffs, and the court below, say that

the answer is no, and that those who disagree with them are not rational.

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Plaintiffs, it appears, have moderated on appeal the views they expressed

below about supporters of Proposition 8. They now disavow, to their credit, the

claim that all “voters who supported Proposition 8 were motivated by malice or

hostility toward gay men and lesbians ….” Pl. Br. 104. Nonetheless, Plaintiffs

assert that a belief that the traditional opposite-sex definition of marriage

meaningfully serves society’s interests is wholly irrational, and that professing

such a belief must therefore either be a pretext to mask “[a] bare … desire to harm”

gays and lesbians, Pl. Br. 97, or be the result of “simple want of careful, rational

reflection ….” Pl. Br. 104 (quoting Board of Trustees of the Univ. of Ala. v.

Garrett, 531 U.S. 356, 375 (2001) (Kennedy, J. concurring)). In other words,

opponents of same-sex marriage, Plaintiffs claim, are either bigoted or benighted.

Under rational-basis review, this claim can admit of no exceptions—the

traditional definition of marriage either has a conceivable rational justification or it

does not. And so the falsity of Plaintiffs’ claim is patent as soon as it is uttered.

For it cannot stand up to the fact that every appellate court, both state and federal,

to address the validity of traditional opposite-sex marriage laws under the United

States Constitution has upheld them as rationally related to the state’s interest in

responsible procreation and child-rearing. These rulings certainly are not

attributable to a bare desire to harm gays and lesbians or a lack of rational

reflection by the judges who rendered them. Nor can Plaintiffs’ claim stand up to

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the fact that President Obama and a host of other well-known champions of equal

rights for gays and lesbians nonetheless support the traditional definition of

marriage. Nor, finally, can Plaintiffs’ claim stand up to this simple truth: Every

one of us, including the Members of this Court, is close to someone who opposes

redefining marriage to include same-sex couples—they are our family members,

our friends, our colleagues, our co-workers, and for some of us, ourselves. Are

they (we) all either bigoted or benighted?

To be sure, at the extreme edges on both sides of the public debate over

same-sex marriage are those who are animated by hostility or irrational fears and

prejudice. But this is true in virtually all hotly contested debates over divisive,

controversial social issues. Such debates inflame passions and arouse deeply held

values and beliefs, and all too often can devolve into partisan efforts to marginalize

or, worse, to demonize the other side. See David Boies, Gay Marriage and the

Constitution, WSJ, July 20, 2009 (traditional definition of marriage reflects

nothing more than “the residue of centuries of figurative and literal gay-bashing”).

But the overwhelming majority of people on both sides of the same-sex

marriage debate, in California and throughout the country, are good and decent

Americans, coming from all walks of life, all political parties, all races and creeds.

Their opinions on this issue are motivated by nothing more than “a sincere desire

to do what’s best for their marriages, their children, their society,” ER517 (Rauch),

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and are entitled to consideration and respect. And their opinions on this issue are

not static, but rather are constantly evolving and changing as the debate and

experience matures. See Jonathan Capehart, Obama Begins Shift on Gay

Marriage, THE WASHINGTON POST, Oct. 28, 2010 (President Obama quoted as

saying that attitudes on same-sex marriage evolve, “including mine.”).

People of good will can and do differ in good faith on the issue of same-sex

marriage, and their differences should be resolved through the political process, not

here.

ARGUMENT

I. PROPONENTS HAVE STANDING.

Plaintiffs cannot deny that the Supreme Court has held that a party has

standing to defend the constitutionality of a state enactment where that party has

“authority under state law” to represent the people’s interest in defending their

laws when state officials refuse to do so. Karcher v. May, 484 U.S. 72, 82 (1987).

In Karcher, the Supreme Court determined that intervening legislative officers had

authority “as a matter of New Jersey law” to appear in lieu of the State’s executive

officers because the State’s “Supreme Court has [previously] granted [legislative

officers’] applications … to intervene as parties-respondent … in defense of a

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legislative enactment.” Id.1

Here, Plaintiffs admit that the California Supreme Court has likewise

granted official initiative proponents leave to intervene to defend the validity of the

measures they have sponsored when state officials refuse to do so. Pl. Br. 31

(citing Strauss v. Horton, 207 P.3d 48, 69 (Cal. 2009)). Indeed, in Strauss the

California Supreme Court permitted these very Proponents to defend the very

Proposition at issue in this case when the Attorney General would not do so. That

should be the end of the matter, for Karcher is controlling where the state supreme

court has permitted intervening parties to defend the State’s enactment “as agents

of the people” when public officials refuse to do so. 2 Arizonans for Official

English v. Arizona, 520 U.S. 43, 65 (1997).3

                                                            
1
Karcher did not reference, let alone rely upon, the New Jersey statutes
cited by Plaintiffs. See Pl. Br. 31 n.7.
2
For this reason, Plaintiffs’ reliance on Don’t Bankrupt Washington
Committee v. Continental Illinois National Bank of Chicago, 460 U.S. 1077
(1983), is misplaced, for that case did not involve California law, and neither the
Supreme Court’s summary ruling nor the papers submitted by the initiative
sponsors suggested that Washington law permits sponsors to intervene to defend
their initiatives, as California law does. See Jurisdictional Statement in Don’t
Bankrupt Washington Committee, No. 82-1445, at 3 (filed Feb. 25, 1983).
3
Plaintiffs claim that Arizonans “distinguished Karcher on the ground that
ballot measure sponsors ‘are not elected representatives.’ ” Pl. Br. 31 (quoting
Arizonans, 520 U.S. at 65). Here is what the Court said in full: “AOE and its
members, however, are not elected representatives, and we are aware of no
Arizona law appointing initiative sponsors as agents of the people of Arizona to
defend, in lieu of public officials, the constitutionality of initiatives made law of
the State.” 520 U.S. at 65. Clearly, the salient distinction was the absence of
Arizona law authorizing sponsors to defend initiatives on behalf of the State; the
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Plaintiffs nevertheless assert that “the California Supreme Court has

authoritatively determined that initiative proponents lack standing to represent the

State’s interests and are ‘in a position no different from that of any other member

of the public.’ ” Pl. Br. 20 (quoting In re Marriage Cases, 183 P.3d 384, 406 (Cal.

2008)); see also Pl. Br. 32-33. But the party seeking leave to appear in In re

Marriage Cases—the Proposition 22 Legal Defense & Education Fund (the

“Fund”)—was not the official proponent of the challenged initiative. As the Court

of Appeal explained, “the Fund itself played no role in sponsoring Proposition 22

because the organization was not even created until one year after voters passed

the initiative.” City and County of San Francisco v. Proposition 22 Legal Defense

and Educ. Fund, 128 Cal. App. 4th 1030, 1038 (2005). Accordingly, that court

squarely held that “this case does not present the question of whether an official

proponent of an initiative (Elec. Code, § 342) has a sufficiently direct and

immediate interest to permit intervention in litigation challenging the validity of

the law enacted.” Id.

In concluding that this Fund lacked standing to defend Proposition 22, the

California Supreme Court relied on the Court of Appeal’s holding in City and
                                                                                                                                                                                                
Court certainly did not advance the extraordinary suggestion that Article III
somehow forbids States from authorizing unelected individuals to defend the State
against federal constitutional challenges to its ballot initiatives. Further, unlike
Strauss, none of the Arizona cases cited by Plaintiffs, see Pl. Br. 32 n.8, allowed a
proponent to intervene to defend a law when State officials would not. In all
events, none of these decisions were brought to the Court’s attention in Arizonans.
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County of San Francisco. See In re Marriage Cases, 183 P.3d at 406 & n.8. At no

point in its opinion did the California Supreme Court even hint that the Fund

“represent[ed] the proponent of Proposition 22,” Pl. Br. 32, much less that it was

an “initiative proponent[],” Pl. Br. 20. In contrast, the California Supreme Court’s

subsequent holding in Strauss makes clear that the official proponents of an

initiative, unlike advocacy groups or members of the general public, do have

standing to defend their initiative in lieu of state officials who refuse to do so.4

In short, as Plaintiffs concede, Proponents’ standing to assert the State’s

interest in the validity of the initiative they have sponsored “rises or falls” on

whether California law has authorized them to do so. Pl. Br. 30-31. Strauss

dispositively resolves that issue in Proponents’ favor, and Plaintiffs’ claim that In

re Marriage Cases holds to the contrary is demonstrably mistaken. 5

                                                            
4
Plaintiffs’ erroneous description of In re Marriage Cases likewise fatally
undermines their reliance on this precedent, see Pl. Br. 33, in response to
Proponents’ alternative submission that they have standing to vindicate “their own
particularized interest in defending an initiative they have successfully sponsored,
an interest that is created and secured by California law.” See Prop. Br. 22-24.
Plaintiffs also argue that, in order to create a particularized interest to defend an
initiative, California must confer a cause of action on Proponents. Id. But the
cases they cite for this proposition say only that this is one way in which a State
may create an interest, and that method makes little sense in the context of standing
to defend.
5
In all events, for the reasons set forth in our opening brief, see Prop. Br.
24-29, as well as in the opening and reply briefs of Imperial County, Imperial
County also has standing to appeal and should have been allowed to intervene in
this case.
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II. THE DISTRICT COURT LACKED JURISDICTION TO GRANT INJUNCTIVE


RELIEF TO PERSONS NOT BEFORE THE COURT.

Even if this Court concludes that both Proponents and Imperial County lack

standing to appeal the judgment below, the Court is obliged to consider whether

the district court exceeded its jurisdiction. In Arizonans, the Supreme Court

squarely held that “[e]ven if we were to rule definitively that [appellants] lack

standing, we would have an obligation essentially to search the pleadings on core

matters of federal-court adjudicatory authority – to inquire not only into this

Court’s authority to decide the questions petitioners present, but to consider, also,

the authority of the lower courts to proceed.” 520 U.S. at 73.

1. As we have demonstrated, Prop. Br. 29-31, the district court clearly

exceeded its jurisdiction by awarding relief that Plaintiffs lacked standing to seek.

Plaintiffs cannot deny that an injunction permitting them, and only them, to marry

would have provided them with complete relief for the injuries they have alleged.6

Nor can they assert that they have standing to seek relief for the injuries of others

not before the court. To the contrary, the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that,

“[i]n the ordinary case, a party is denied standing to assert the rights of third

persons.” Arlington Heights v. Metropolitan Hous. Dev. Corp., 429 U.S. 252, 263
                                                            
6
See Smelt v. United States, No. 8:09-cv-0286-DOC-MLG, Doc. 36 at 4
(July 15, 2009) (attached as Exhibit A) (“As Plaintiffs’ marriage is valid within
California, they cannot present an injury with respect to the recognition of their
marriage by the State of California . . . and, therefore, they do not have standing to
pursue their claims against the State of California.”).
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(1977); see also, e.g., Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 499 (1975) (plaintiff

“generally must assert his own legal rights and interests, and cannot rest his claim

to relief on the legal rights or interests of third parties”).7

In accordance with this settled rule, this Court has held that a federal court

“may not attempt to determine the rights of persons not before the court.” Zepeda

v. INS, 753 F.2d 719, 726 (9th Cir. 1983). The Court explained that this rule is

rooted in plaintiffs’ lack of standing to assert the interests of others absent

certification as a class representative:

[O]ur legal system does not automatically grant individual plaintiffs


standing to act on behalf of all citizens similarly situated. A person
who desires to be a “self-chosen representative” and “volunteer
champion,” Cohen v. Beneficial Industrial Loan Corp., 337 U.S. 541,
549, (1949), must qualify under rule 23. To be sure, failure to grant
class relief may leave a government official – temporarily – in a
position to continue treating nonparties in a manner that would be
prohibited with respect to named plaintiffs. But that is the nature of
the relief.

Id. at 728 n.1. Accordingly, the Court held that where, as here, a district court has

issued an injunction violating this limitation on its power, this Court “must vacate

and remand,” for “the injunction must be limited to apply only to the individual

                                                            
7
This “ordinary” rule applies “generally,” not invariably, because a district
court may “entertain suits which will result in relief for parties that are not
themselves directly bringing suit,” but only when the party bringing the suit has
been legally authorized to represent the absent party, as in the case of a trustee, a
guardian ad litem, or class representative certified pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 23.
Sprint Communications Co., L.P. v. APCC Servs., 128 S. Ct. 2531, 2543 (2010).
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plaintiffs unless the district judge certifies a class of plaintiffs.” Id. at 727.

Plaintiffs argue that “this Court limited Zepeda to its facts,” restricting the

rule to preliminary injunction cases. Pl. Br. 106 (citing Bresgal v. Brock, 843 F.2d

1163, 1169 (9th Cir. 1988)). But this Court upheld the injunction in Bresgal

because in that case, unlike Zepeda or here, an injunction “extending benefit or

protection to persons other than the prevailing parties in the lawsuit … is necessary

to give prevailing parties the relief to which they are entitled.” Bresgal, 843 F.2d

at 1170-71. In contrast, the Court emphasized, “in Zepeda we noted expressly that

in that case the injunctive relief requested could ‘be granted to the individual

plaintiffs without the relief inevitably affecting the entire class.’ ” Id. at 1170

(quoting Zepeda, 753 F.2d at 729 n.1). That Zepeda was a preliminary injunction

case clearly was not dispositive, as demonstrated by the Bresgal Court’s extensive

analysis of whether a broad injunction was necessary to provide complete relief for

plaintiffs. In any event, this Court has subsequently applied the rule that injunctive

relief may not extend beyond the plaintiffs absent class certification in a permanent

injunction case. See Meinhold v. U.S. Dep’t of Defense, 34 F.3d 1469, 1480 (9th

Cir. 1994) (vacating injunction prohibiting the Defense Department from

discharging any person from the service based on sexual orientation where action

was not brought as a class action “except to the extent it enjoins DOD from

discharging Meinhold”).

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The other case on which Plaintiffs rely, Doe v. Gallinot, 657 F.2d 1017,

1025 (9th Cir. 1981), also merely upheld injunctive relief extending beyond the

plaintiffs as “ ‘further necessary or proper relief’ to effectuate the judgment” in

favor of the plaintiff. In any case, this Court’s subsequent decisions make clear

that “injunctive relief generally should be limited to apply only to named plaintiffs

where there is no class certification” except in cases where a broader injunction is

necessary to provide complete relief to plaintiffs. Easyriders Freedom F.I.G.H.T.

v. Hannigan, 92 F.3d 1486, 1501-02 (9th Cir. 1996).8

Other Circuits have applied the same rule. For example, the First Circuit, in

an opinion joined by then-Judge Breyer, invoked this Court’s decision in Zepeda to

vacate an injunction sweeping beyond the individual plaintiff because classwide

injunctive relief “is appropriate only where there is a properly certified class”

unless a broader injunction is necessary to give the plaintiffs the relief to which

they are entitled. Brown v. Trustees of Boston Univ., 891 F.2d 337, 361 (1st Cir.

1989) (citing Zepeda, 753 F.2d at 727-28 & n.1); see also Sharpe v. Cureton, 319

F.3d 259, 273 (6th Cir. 2003); Everhart v. Bowen, 853 F.2d 1532, 1539 (10th Cir.

1988) (following Zepeda), rev’d on other grounds sub nom, Sullivan v. Everhart,
                                                            
8
In Easyriders, for example, the injunction against California Highway
Patrol officers’ enforcement of California’s motorcycle helmet law could not have
been practically limited to plaintiffs since officers would have no way of knowing
whether a particular motorcyclist was one of “the named plaintiffs or a member of
Easyriders, [so] the plaintiffs would not receive the complete relief to which they
were entitled without statewide application of the injunction.” Id. at 1502.
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494 U.S. 83 (1990); McKinnon v. Patterson, 568 F.2d 930, 940 (2d Cir. 1977)

(“Even as to declaratory relief, … the fact that this suit is not a class action

precludes the judgment from being applied to prisoners other than the three named

plaintiffs”).

While the Supreme Court has yet to address this precise issue, it has

considered the closely analogous question whether the actual injuries suffered by

plaintiffs can support a broader injunction addressing inadequacies different from

those that had produced plaintiffs’ injury-in-fact. Lewis v. Casey, 518 U.S. 343,

357 (1996). The Court concluded that such an injunction is improper, holding that

Article III’s “actual-injury requirement” necessarily means that a “remedy must of

course be limited to the inadequacy that produced the injury in fact that the

plaintiff has established.” Id. The same logic applies here, and limits the district

court’s jurisdiction to providing relief for “the injury in fact that the plaintiff[s in

this case have] established.” Id.

2. It is especially critical that this Court strictly enforce the limits of the

district court’s jurisdiction and Plaintiffs’ standing given the unique circumstances

of this case. “The essence of the standing inquiry is whether the [plaintiffs] …

have alleged such a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure

that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the

court so largely depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions.”

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Larson v. Volente, 456 U.S. 228, 238-39 (1982) (quotation marks omitted). Here

however, if Plaintiffs’ submission that Proponents lack standing is to be credited

(and as we have demonstrated, it should not be), that “concrete adverseness” was

wholly absent below, for the named defendants were either silent or actively

assisting the Plaintiffs. But rather than simply entering a narrow default judgment

awarding relief to the four individual Plaintiffs, the district court issued a sweeping

constitutional decision nullifying, across the board, a democratically enacted

amendment to California’s constitution that reaffirms and reinstates the traditional

understanding and structure of society’s oldest institution.

The Supreme Court has cautioned against permitting the federal courts to be

improperly used to achieve policy results that cannot be obtained in the political

process, observing that “public officials sometimes consent to, or refrain from

vigorously opposing, decrees that go well beyond what is required by federal law.”

Horne v. Flores, 129 S. Ct. 2579, 2594 (2009); see also id. (citing study showing

that “government officials may try to use consent decrees to ‘block ordinary

avenues of political change’ or to ‘sidestep political constraints’ ”). That is

precisely what is threatened here if this Court simultaneously accepts Plaintiffs’

claims that Proponents and Imperial County lack standing to appeal yet fails to

enforce the clear limitations on the district court’s jurisdiction.

Whatever one’s position on the highly controversial question whether the

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State of California should fundamentally redefine the age-old institution of

marriage to include same-sex couples, our constitutional system surely does not

permit a single federal district court judge, acting on the complaint of four

individual plaintiffs in concert with a handful of carefully selected official

defendants, all of whom wish to overturn the results of the election, to impose such

a revolutionary cultural change on the State as a whole without appellate review.

Any federal constitutional right that Plaintiffs may conceivably possess would be

fully vindicated by an order limited to them.

III. BINDING PRECEDENT FORECLOSES PLAINTIFFS’ CLAIMS.

Binding precedent from the Supreme Court and this Court mandate reversal

of the district court’s ruling. See Baker v. Nelson, 409 U.S. 810 (1972); Adams v.

Howerton, 673 F.2d 1036 (9th Cir. 1982). These decisions, like those of every

other state or federal appellate court to consider the question, see Prop. Br. 46-47,

hold that the traditional definition of marriage does not violate the Federal

Constitution.

1. As a summary decision on the merits, Baker constitutes “controlling

precedent, unless and until re-examined by [the Supreme] Court.” Tully v. Griffin,

Inc., 429 U.S. 68, 74 (1976). And whatever precedential force it may have in the

Supreme Court, see Pl. Br. 34, “a summary dismissal for want of a substantial

federal question fully binds the lower courts.” Carpenters Pension Trust v.

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Kronschnabel, 632 F.2d 745, 748 (9th Cir. 1980); ROBERT L. STERN ET AL.,

SUPREME COURT PRACTICE 281 (8th ed. 2002) (“lower courts are to grant [Supreme

Court summary dispositions] the same respect as other holdings of higher

tribunals”).

To undermine the controlling force of a summary disposition, subsequent

“ ‘doctrinal developments’ in the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence,” Pl. Br. 35

(quoting Hicks v. Miranda, 422 U.S. 332, 344-45 (1975)), must be necessarily

incompatible with the earlier decision and plainly demonstrate that it has been

overruled. Any more relaxed approach would be irreconcilable with the Supreme

Court’s repeated admonitions that lower courts may not on their own authority

renounce binding precedent:

We do not acknowledge, and we do not hold, that other courts should


conclude our more recent cases have, by implication, overruled an
earlier precedent. We reaffirm that if a precedent of this Court has
direct application in a case, yet appears to rest on reasons rejected in
some other line of decisions, the Court of Appeals should follow the
case which directly controls, leaving to this Court the prerogative of
overruling its own decisions.

Agostini v. Felton, 521 U.S. 203, 237-38 (1997); see also, e.g., Rodriguez de

Quijas v. Shearson/American Express, Inc., 490 U.S. 477, 484 (1989); State Oil

Co. v. Khan, 522 U.S. 3, 20 (1997) (“Despite what Chief Judge Posner aptly

described as Albrecht’s “infirmities, [and] its increasingly wobbly, moth-eaten

foundations, … [t]he Court of Appeals was correct in applying [the] principle [of

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stare decisis] despite disagreement with Albrecht, for it is this Court’s prerogative

alone to overrule one of its precedents.”).

“[B]inding authority,” in other words, “is very powerful medicine. A

decision of the Supreme Court will control that corner of the law unless and until

the Supreme Court itself overrules or modifies it.” Hart v. Massanari, 266 F.3d

1155, 1171 (9th Cir. 2001).

The Supreme Court plainly has not repudiated Baker’s due process or equal

protection holdings, either expressly or through “doctrinal developments.” Indeed,

in Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003), Plaintiffs’ primary post-Baker due

process case, the Court went out of its way to emphasize that the case did “not

involve whether the government must give formal recognition to any relationship

that homosexual persons seek to enter,” id. at 578. Plaintiffs’ other due process

cases, Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78 (1987), and Zablocki v. Redhail, 434 U.S. 374,

384 (1978), both addressed traditional opposite-sex marriage and recognized the

connection between marriage and its procreative purposes. See Prop. Br. 69-70 &

n.33. And both decisions expressly followed Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1

(1967), which was decided five years before Baker. See Zablocki, 434 U.S. at 383

(identifying Loving as “[t]he leading decision[ ] on the right to marry”); Turner,

482 U.S. at 94-95 (holding that the fundamental right to marry “under Zablocki …

and Loving … appl[ies] to prison inmates”).

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The Supreme Court has likewise never indicated post-Baker that the Equal

Protection Clause protects a right to marry a person of the same sex. Romer v.

Evans had nothing to do with marriage, and neither held nor even implied that

classifications affecting gays and lesbians were subject to anything other than

“conventional” rational basis scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause. 517 U.S.

620, 631-32 (1996). And while the Court has refined its sex discrimination

jurisprudence since Baker was decided, it had, prior to that decision, already

clearly “depart[ed] from ‘traditional’ rational-basis analysis with respect to sex-

based classifications.” Frontiero v. Richardson, 411 U.S. 677, 684 (1973)

(plurality) (discussing Reed v. Reed, 404 U.S. 71 (1971)).

2. Plaintiffs’ attempt to portray Baker as not presenting an issue of

sexual orientation discrimination is untenable. Not only did the Jurisdictional

Statement spend several pages arguing that Minnesota’s adherence to the

traditional definition of marriage was attributable solely to “the continuing impact

on our society of prejudice against non-heterosexuals,” it also plainly argued that

this adherence subjected “the class of persons who wish to engage in single sex

marriages” to “invidious discrimination.” ER 1609-10.

Plaintiffs also attempt to distinguish Baker on the grounds that (1) California

recognized same-sex relationships as marriages for a few brief months before the

voters’ swift reversal of In re Marriage Cases, and (2) California has

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accommodated the interests of gays and lesbians by continuing to recognize 18,000

same-sex marriages entered prior to the enactment of Proposition 8 and by

recognizing other same-sex relationships as domestic partnerships, which afford

essentially the same substantive rights as marriage. The first distinction is nothing

more than a historical accident of no constitutional moment. See also infra at 75-

80. And surely California’s generous efforts to accommodate same-sex couples do

not place its marriage laws on a weaker foundation than the laws upheld in Baker.

Indeed, any distinction of Baker on this ground would create a perverse incentive

for States that wish to preserve the traditional definition of marriage to maintain

“an outright refusal … to afford any recognition to same-sex relationships.” Pl. Br.

37.

3. This Court’s decision in Adams v. Howerton, 673 F.2d 1036 (9th Cir.

1982), also mandates reversal of the district court’s decision. Although the case

arose in the context of immigration law, this Court nonetheless applied traditional

rational-basis review: “We need not … delineate the exact outer boundaries of

[the] limited judicial review” that applies in the immigration context, this Court

explained, because “[w]e hold that Congress’s decision to confer spouse status …

only upon the parties to heterosexual marriages has a rational basis.… There is no

occasion to consider in this case whether some lesser standard of review should

apply.” Id. at 1042. And contrary to Plaintiffs’ contention, see Pl. Br. 38-39,

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Adams is no more undermined by Lawrence or Romer than is Baker. See Miller v.

Gammie, 335 F.3d 889, 900 (9th Cir. 2003) (en banc).

4. As we have demonstrated, Prop. Br. 46-47, the decision below stands

in stark conflict not only with Baker and Adams, but the uniform judgment of

appellate courts across the country. Although Plaintiffs, like the district court, do

not even address these decisions, they plainly confirm that the decision below must

be reversed.

IV. THIS COURT OWES NO DEFERENCE TO THE DISTRICT COURT’S RULING.

1. Plaintiffs argue that every so-called “finding of fact” made by the

district court ought to be afforded the deference that would be given to a lower

court’s findings of fact regarding, say, a traffic accident. Constitutional law simply

does not proceed in this manner—not in the Supreme Court, not in this Court, not

in any appellate court in the country.

It is well-settled that “[l]egislative facts … are those which have relevance to

legal reasoning and the lawmaking process, whether in the formulation of a legal

principle or ruling by a judge or court or in the enactment of a legislative body.”

FED. R. EVID. 201(a), advisory comm. note to 1972 amendments. In determining

legislative facts, a “judge is unrestricted in his investigation and conclusion,” and

“may make an independent search for persuasive data.” Id. “This … view …

renders inappropriate any limitation in the form of indisputability, and formal

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requirements of notice other than those already inherent in affording opportunity to

hear and be heard and exchanging briefs, and any requirement of formal findings

at any level.” Id. This Court has repeatedly recognized this distinction. See, e.g.,

Marshall v. Sawyer, 365 F.2d 105, 111 (9th Cir. 1966); United States v. $124,570

U.S. Currency, 873 F.2d 1240, 1244-45 (9th Cir. 1989); cf. Valdivia v.

Schwarzenegger, 599 F.3d 984, 994 (9th Cir. 2010).

Given these principles, it is plain that an appellate court’s treatment of

legislative facts does not in any way turn on whether the lower court held a trial or

on the contents of the record below, however it was compiled. Simply put,

“[t]here are limits to which important constitutional questions should hinge on the

views of social scientists who testify as experts at trial.” Dunagin v. City of

Oxford, 718 F.2d 738, 748 n.8 (5th Cir. 1983) (en banc) (plurality); see also

Lockhart v. McCree, 476 U.S. 162, 168-69 & n.3 (1986). As a leading treatise on

evidence explains:

If the social science materials were not clearly inclined to sustain only
one conclusion, and the ruling were treated as a factual ruling, the
ruling, whichever way it came out, could not be reversed because it
would not be clearly erroneous. Law would come to turn on fact and
be susceptible to two right answers. This is not going to happen.
Legislative facts are not ‘evidence’ in the normal sense of the word.

MCCORMICK ON EVIDENCE § 334, at 457 (6th ed., Kenneth Brown, ed. 2006).

Not surprisingly, the contrary rule urged by Plaintiffs is flatly inconsistent

with the Supreme Court’s approach to legislative facts, even in the very cases on

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which Plaintiffs rely. In Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), for

example, the Court did cite a finding made in one of the four cases under review

that supported its holding. Id. at 494 n.10, 495. But the judge below did not “rest

his decision on that ground,” id. at 486 n.1, nor did the Court purport to defer to it.

Indeed, to support its holding, the Court also cited directly to “modern authority”

consisting of several works of social science. Id. at 494 n.11.

Similarly, while the Court in United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515 (1996),

did discuss a trial held below, it proceeded to reject the trial court’s conclusion that

an interest in educational diversity supported the State’s maintenance of the

Virginia Military Institute as an all-male institution, relying instead on several

works of historical scholarship, among other things. See id. at 523-24, 535-40.

These cases are by no means unique. Compare, e.g., Grutter v. Bollinger, 137 F.

Supp. 2d 821, 851 (E.D. Mich. 2001) (concluding, based on findings of fact, that

affirmative action program was not narrowly tailored and was “practically

indistinguishable from a quota system”), with Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306,

335-36 (2003) (offering no statement of deference to district court and finding that

evidence showed the program was “not transform[ed] … into a quota” and “b[ore]

the hallmarks of a narrowly tailored plan”). These and many similar cases plainly

cannot be reconciled with any rule requiring deference to district courts’ legislative

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factfinding.9

The Court’s established practice in constitutional cases no doubt explains

why in Lockhart v. McCree, 476 U.S. 162, 169 n.3 (1986), the Supreme Court was

“far from persuaded … that the ‘clearly erroneous’ standard of Rule 52(a) applies

to … ‘legislative’ facts.” Not surprisingly, every court of appeals that has

considered the issue has found de novo review to be appropriate. Prop. Br. 37

(citing cases).10

                                                            
9
Plaintiffs argue that the Supreme Court sometimes adopts findings without
discussing the standard of review. Pl. Br. 27-28 (citing Reno v. ACLU, 521 U.S.
844, 849 (1997) (adopting stipulated facts); Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202, 207
(1982) (accepting trial court’s findings without discussing standard of review)).
But even applying de novo review, the Court is of course free to adopt trial court
findings if it finds them correct.  
10
Plaintiffs claim that Service Employees International Union v. Fair
Political Practice Commission, 955 F.2d 1312 (9th Cir. 1992), establishes that
there is not “a different standard of review for legislative facts.” Pl. Br. 25. There,
the district court made findings regarding the dollar amounts raised by incumbents
and challengers during various election cycles, and this Court subjected “these
findings” to the clearly erroneous standard of review. Id. at 1317. But when the
SEIU Court turned to evaluating matters more like those at issue here, it conducted
an independent review. See id. at 1318, 1321 (“we now turn to the question
whether viewpoint and content neutral contribution limits that discriminate against
challengers and their supporters offend the Constitution”; finding, without citing
any district court findings on the matter, that “the state has a legitimate interest in
preventing corruption” but that “appellants have made no showing that limiting
contributions on a fiscal year basis advances this interest”). In all events, the
Supreme Court’s cases control, and it is simply not true that that Court uniformly
defers to findings of “discriminatory impact,” as Plaintiffs claim. Pl. Br. 25.
Compare Valtierra v. Housing Auth. of the City of San Jose, 313 F. Supp. 1, 5
(N.D. Cal. 1970) (finding that “impact” of a referendum “falls upon minorities”),
with James v. Valtierra, 402 U.S. 137, 141 (1971) (affording no deference to
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2. Plaintiffs also seek to characterize several of the district court’s

purported findings as “adjudicative” facts. But “the specific effects” of

Proposition 8, Pl. Br. 25—including whether it imposes “stigmas against gays and

lesbians,” ER 120, “legitimates [their] unequal treatment,” ER 128, or

“perpetuate[s] … stereotype[s]” about them, id.—are paradigmatic legislative

facts. See, e.g., Dunagin, 718 F.2d at 748 n.8 (district court’s “finding” that an

alcohol-advertisement regulation did not have the effect of preventing increased

alcohol consumption was “a legislative and not an adjudicative fact” and thus was

not subject to “a clearly erroneous standard of review”); Yocum v. Greenbriar

Nursing Home, 130 P.3d 213, 220 n.32 (Okla. 2005) (“[L]egislative facts” include

“those which are helpful to a court in determining the … effect … of

enactments.”). And determinations about the “meaning” of campaign themes and

messages, Pl. Br. 25—including purported “assum[ptions]” inherent in the

Proposition 8 campaign, ER 108, and messages “insinuated” by campaign

advertisements, ER 140—plainly encompass broad conclusions about the social

and psychological impact of political messaging. See, e.g., Equality Found. of


                                                                                                                                                                                                
district court’s finding and concluding that “the record … would not support any
claim that [the] law … is in fact aimed at a racial minority”).
Plaintiffs also claim that in Hunter v. Regents of the University of California,
190 F.3d 1061 (9th Cir. 1999), this Court deferred to a “district court’s findings
that school admissions requirements satisfied strict scrutiny.” Pls. Br. 26. But
Hunter predates Grutter, which makes clear that findings regarding compelling
interests and narrow tailoring are not subject to deferential review.

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Greater Cincinnati, Inc. v. City of Cincinnati, 54 F.3d 261, 264 n.1, 265 (6th Cir.

1995), vacated on other grounds, 518 U.S. 1001 (1996) (holding that “most, if not

all, of the lower court’s findings”—including, inter alia, that “campaign materials

were riddled with unreliable data, irrational misconceptions and insupportable

misrepresentations about homosexuals”— “constituted ultimate facts and

interrelated applications of law, sociological judgments, mixed questions of law

and fact, and/or findings designed to support ‘constitutional facts’ ” and were thus

subject to “plenary review”).

3. Plaintiffs’ effort to rehabilitate the district court’s erroneous

application of rational-basis review fares no better. The district court plainly (and

improperly) imposed a burden of production, if not the burden of proof, on

Proponents to sustain Proposition 8’s rationality. See Prop. Br. 32-35. The fact

that this Court has held that the party challenging a law may, in certain

circumstances, introduce evidence and build a factual record in an attempt to meet

its burden of disproving “any reasonably conceivable state of facts that could

provide a rational basis” for the law does not excuse the district court’s engaging in

standard “courtroom factfinding” with respect to Proposition 8’s rationality.

Heller v. Doe, 509 U.S. 312, 320 (1993). See Lazy Y Ranch Ltd. v. Behrens, 546

F.3d 580, 591-92 (9th Cir. 2008) (explaining that “our circuit has allowed plaintiffs

to rebut the facts underlying defendants’ asserted rationale for a classification, to

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show that the classification could not reasonably be viewed to further the asserted

purpose” and citing Lockary v Kayfetz, 917 F.2d 1150 (9th Cir. 1990), as an

example of such a case).

V. THE TRADITIONAL DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE DOES NOT VIOLATE


PLAINTIFFS’ FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT TO MARRY.

We have demonstrated that under controlling Supreme Court precedent, it is

simply impossible to find a free-standing fundamental right to have a same-sex

relationship recognized as a marriage. See Prop. Br. 48-50. Plaintiffs do not—and

cannot plausibly—contend otherwise. Rather, they seek to shoehorn such a right

into the right to marry that has been recognized by the Supreme Court by

redefining that right in a manner utterly inconsistent with history and precedent.

1. Plaintiffs do not dispute that prior to the last decade, marriage has

always been limited to opposite sex unions in this Country and indeed in virtually

every society throughout history. Nor do they dispute that the same rule continues

to prevail today in the overwhelming majority of jurisdictions in this Country and

throughout the world. And they cannot deny that marriage has been uniformly

defined as the union of man and woman by dictionaries, legal treatises, and other

eminent authorities throughout history. See Prop. Br. 51-60.11 Given that

                                                            
11
Contrary to Plaintiffs’ claim, see Pl. Br. 40, Proponents repeatedly brought
many of these sources demonstrating the deeply rooted, historical understanding to
the district court’s attention. See, e.g., ER 1453-59, 1469-75, 1514-19; ER 1737-
39, 1742-44, 1756-58, 1760-62, 1766; ER 1775-84. In all events, as demonstrated
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fundamental due process rights are defined by this Nation’s “history, legal

traditions, and practices,” Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702, 721 (1997),

Plaintiffs’ claim that the traditional opposite-sex definition of marriage reaffirmed

by Proposition 8 violates their fundamental right to marry is simply untenable.

The same authorities also demonstrate that an animating purpose of

marriage in every society throughout history has been to regulate sexual

relationships between men and women to increase the likelihood that the unique

procreative potential of such relationships benefits rather than harms society—

specifically, by increasing the chances that the children resulting from those

relationships will be born and raised in stable family units by both the mothers and

the fathers who brought them into the world. Indeed, Plaintiffs are forced to

concede that this societal purpose is served by marriage, see Pl. Br. 49, ER 1785,

though they labor mightily to avoid its import by dismissing it as merely one of

many marital purposes. To be sure, in various times and places marriage has

served other societal purposes in addition to responsible procreation, and no doubt

individuals marry, as they always have, for a wide variety of personal reasons. But

no purpose other than responsible procreation can explain why marriage is so

universal, so critical to society, or even why it exists at all—let alone why it has

existed in every civilized society throughout history.


                                                                                                                                                                                                
above, this Court’s review of the definition and scope of the fundamental right to
marry is in nowise limited to the trial record. See supra at 20-23.
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2. Plaintiffs claim that recognizing the overriding procreative purposes

of marriage necessarily implies that the fundamental right to marry does not extend

to infertile opposite-sex couples, and perhaps even that a State could eliminate

marriage entirely if it determined that marriage no longer served those purposes.

Pl. Br. 40. In so arguing, Plaintiffs fail to grasp the point either of our position or

the Supreme Court precedents on which it is based: namely, that the scope of

fundamental due process rights is determined by this Nation’s history, traditions,

and legal practices. And these sources make clear that the right to marry extends

to opposite-sex couples as a class and does not inquire into fertility on a case-by-

case basis. The overwhelming evidence recognizing the procreative purposes of

marriage certainly makes clear why the right to marry has never included same-sex

relationships—which as a class are never fertile—as well as why marriage is both

vital and ubiquitous. But these purposes do not limit, nor would they warrant the

contraction of, the right to marry beyond its established historical contours.

Simply put, there is not, and has never been, a requirement of perfect fit between a

right and its animating purposes. Cf. District of Columbia v. Heller, 128 S. Ct.

2783, 2789 (2008) (explaining that the Second Amendment’s prefatory clause

“announces a purpose” but does not limit operative right); id. at 2817 (“the fact

that modern developments have limited the degree of fit between the prefatory

clause and the protected right cannot change our interpretation of the right”);

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McDonald v. City of Chicago, 130 S. Ct. 3020, 3042 (2010) (holding that the right

to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right incorporated by the due process

clause of the Fourteenth Amendment).12

In all events, the alternative purposes for marriage posited by Plaintiffs and

the district court not only lack the explanatory power and universal recognition of

the procreative purposes repeatedly articulated by eminent authorities throughout

the ages, they also afford no better fit with the history, traditions, and practice of

marriage in this or any other Nation. For while marriage has never been

conditioned on a couple’s ability and desire to have children, neither has it been

conditioned on a couple’s actual ability and desire to find “happiness” together, or

their actual “personal dedication” to or even “affection” for each other. Pl. Br. 44-

45.

3. Plaintiffs labor mightily to cull support for their novel interpretation

of the fundamental right to marry by selectively stringing together handpicked

quotations from Supreme Court precedents. But they simply cannot avoid the

                                                            
12
Plaintiffs also assert that acknowledging the procreative purposes served
by marriage risks expanding the fundamental right to marry to include prohibited
but potentially fertile relationships such as incestuous or polygamous relationships,
Pl. Br. 50 n.13, but this contention fails for the same reason. To the contrary, as
the amicus States have demonstrated, it is the abstract, ahistorical right asserted by
Plaintiffs “to select the partner of one’s choice” that would subject to exacting and
perhaps fatal scrutiny the limits the States have traditionally placed on that choice
relating to consanguinity, marital status, and even age. See States of Indiana,
Virginia, et al. Br. 31-34 (“States Br.”).
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facts that (1) every Supreme Court decision that has upheld the fundamental right

to marry has involved the union of a man and a woman, (2) the only Supreme

Court decision to consider whether this right extended to same-sex couples

unanimously and summarily rejected that suggestion, and (3) the Supreme Court

cases addressing the right to marry have repeatedly emphasized the abiding

connection between marriage and the unique procreative potential of sexual

relationships between men and women. See Prop. Br. at 51, 69-70.

Contrary to Plaintiffs’ suggestions, Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003),

did not hold or imply that the fundamental right to marry confers a right to have a

same-sex relationship recognized as a marriage. The Court did hold that a State

could not infringe an individual’s autonomy to enter an intimate relationship with a

person of the same sex by criminalizing “the most private human conduct, sexual

behavior, and in the most private of places, the home.” Id. at 567. Although

Plaintiffs attempt, through ellipses and selective quotation, to draw from Lawrence

support for a right to have such a relationship recognized as a marriage, they

simply cannot overcome that Court’s clear statement that the case did “not involve

whether the government must give formal recognition to any relationship that

homosexual persons seek to enter.” Id. at 578; see also id. at 567 (explaining that

Texas’s sodomy prohibition sought “to control a personal relationship that,

whether or not entitled to formal recognition in the law, is within the liberty of

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persons to choose without being punished as criminals”); id. at 585 (O’Connor, J.,

concurring in judgment) (expressly distinguishing marriage from the law at issue

in Lawrence). Indeed, marriage is itself official public recognition and regulation

of a couple’s union and is thus the very antithesis of the right to be let alone

vindicated in Lawrence: as Plaintiffs themselves emphasize, instead of privacy

and autonomy, they seek formal government recognition of their relationships as a

marriage “to demonstrate publicly their commitment to one another.” Pl. Stay

Opp. 3.

Plaintiffs likewise trumpet the Supreme Court’s statements regarding

“freedom of personal choice in matters of marriage,” Cleveland Bd. of Educ. v. La

Fleur, 414 U.S. 632, 639 (1974), and the importance of the right to marry “for all

individuals.” Zablocki v. Redhail, 434 U.S. at 384. But these statements do not get

Plaintiffs very far, for the question in this case is not, as Plaintiffs would have it,

who has the right to marry but rather what the right to marry is. And try as they

might, Plaintiffs cannot avoid the clear answer that history and precedent provide

to that question.

Nor do the Supreme Court cases cited by Plaintiffs support their attempt to

divorce the right to marry from its traditional procreative purposes. As we have

demonstrated, see Prop. Br. 69-70 & n.33, both Zablocki and Turner v. Safley, 482

U.S. 78 (1987), upheld the right of a woman to marry a man, and both recognized

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marriage’s abiding concern with the procreative potential of such opposite-sex

relationships. That Zablocki may have discussed other rights, as well as the right

to marry, and that Turner may have recognized purposes served by marriage in

addition to responsible procreation is in no way inconsistent with the traditional

understanding of marriage and its purposes.

Plaintiffs’ reliance on Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965), is

likewise unavailing. To be sure, that decision struck down a prohibition on

contraceptive devices, finding a right to privacy that protects an individual’s choice

not to procreate. As later cases confirmed, however, this privacy right is distinct

from marriage and extends to single individuals as well. See Eisenstadt v. Baird,

405 U.S. 438, 454-55 (1972). While this privacy right certainly helps explain why

States have never closely inquired into opposite-sex couples’ childbearing ability

or intentions as a precondition to marriage, it just as certainly does not negate

marriage’s abiding concern with the procreative potential of such couples.13

                                                            
13
Even farther afield are Boddie v. Connecticut, which vindicated the
principle that “persons forced to settle their claims of right and duty through the
judicial process must be given a meaningful opportunity to be heard,” 401 U.S.
371, 377 (1971), and Moore v. City of East Cleveland, which struck down a law
making it a crime for a grandmother to live with her grandson in light of the
“venerable” “tradition of uncles, aunts, cousins, and especially grandparents
sharing a household along with parents and children,” 431 U.S. 494, 504 (1977).
The fact that individuals, including married individuals, have other due process
rights in addition to the fundamental right to marry simply does not bear on the
scope of that right or its purposes.
 

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4. Plaintiffs also seek to recycle the district court’s flawed historical

analysis of the institution of marriage, largely ignoring our thorough rebuttal of the

district court’s reasoning. But like the district court, Plaintiffs fail to refer to a

single dictionary, treatise, law, or other historical source defining marriage.

Instead, they offer a definition of marriage that cannot be found in any such

historical source, because it was invented by one of their expert witnesses for

purposes of this case: “[M]arriage is ‘a couple’s choice to live with each other, to

remain committed to one another, and to form a household based on their own

feelings about one another, and their agreement to join in an economic partnership

and support one another in terms of the material needs of life.’ ” Pl. Br. 47. While

this carefully formulated definition no doubt describes some of the purposes

marriage has served in some societies, it is most noteworthy for its forced,

tendentious attempt to cleanse from marriage any reference to the gender of the

spouses or the procreative purposes served by the institution—references that we

have demonstrated are ubiquitous in genuine historical definitions and descriptions

of marriage.

Plaintiffs also repeatedly invoke the tired canard that despite the testimony

of eminent authorities throughout the ages, marriage cannot be designed to channel

potentially procreative sexual relationships into stable family units for the benefit

of any resulting children because societies have throughout history chosen to rely

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on “the common-sense proposition,” Vance v. Bradley, 440 U.S. 93, 112 (1979),

that opposite-sex relationships are in general potentially procreative rather than to

undertake burdensome, intrusive, and ultimately ineffective efforts to determine

the fertility and childbearing intentions of individual couples seeking to marry on a

case-by-case basis. We have already demonstrated that this argument is badly

flawed and has been repeatedly rejected by appellate courts throughout the Nation.

See Prop. Br. at 60-64. Plaintiffs offer no meaningful response to our arguments

and do not even acknowledge the numerous cases squarely dismissing Plaintiffs’

contentions.

5. Finally, Plaintiffs embrace the district court’s efforts to liken the

traditional, opposite-sex definition of marriage to the antimiscegenation laws and

coverture restrictions on married women’s rights that once applied in some

jurisdictions. But we have already demonstrated that, unlike the traditional

opposite-sex definition of marriage, such laws were never a universal—let alone

defining—feature of marriage. See Prop. Br. at 64-68. Although Plaintiffs’ expert

may claim that antimiscegenation laws were viewed “as very important

definitional features of who could and should marry, and who could not and should

not,” Pl. Br. 48, Plaintiffs offer not one scrap of historical support for this bald

assertion, and contemporaneous dictionaries, treatises, and the legal history of

antimiscegenation laws in this country demonstrate that it is simply false. See,

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e.g., Prop. Br. 65-66 (contrasting leading 19th century treatise’s recognition of the

universal requirement that marriage partners “be of different sex” with its

discussion of racial restrictions on marriage that applied only “in particular

countries, or States”); id. at 52-53 (collecting historical dictionary definitions of

marriage, none of which define marriage with reference to race); id. at 65

(explaining that racial restrictions on marriage were never a part of the common

law and never existed in many States); High Impact Leadership Coalition et al. Br.

2-4 (same).

* * *

In short, history and precedent do not support, but squarely foreclose,

Plaintiffs’ claim that the definition of marriage that has prevailed in virtually every

society throughout every period of history somehow violates the fundamental right

to marry.

VI. PROPOSITION 8 IS SUBJECT TO RATIONAL BASIS SCRUTINY UNDER THE


EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE.

A. Binding precedent establishes that gays and lesbians do not


constitute a suspect or quasi-suspect class.

A long line of authority from this Court, beginning with High Tech Gays v.

Defense Industrial Services Clearing Office, 895 F.2d 563, 571 (9th Cir. 1990),

establishes that “homosexuals do not constitute a suspect or quasi-suspect class

entitled to greater than rational basis scrutiny,” id. at 573-74; see Fam. Res.

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Council Br. 19 n.20. Plaintiffs contend that because High Tech Gays “premised its

equal protection analysis on Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U.S. 186 (1986),” this

authority has been undermined by Lawrence. Pl. Br. 68-69. But while High Tech

Gays did observe that Bowers was “incongruous” with deeming gays and lesbians

members of a suspect or quasi-suspect class, it also independently analyzed the

case for heightened scrutiny and found it wanting. 895 F.2d at 571, 573-74. After

setting forth the requirements for such treatment—a history of discrimination,

immutability, and political powerlessness—this Court held that gays and lesbians

met the first but failed the latter two. Id. at 573-74. This analysis “compel[led]”

the holding “that homosexuals do not constitute a suspect or quasi-suspect class

entitled to greater than rational basis scrutiny.” Id. at 574. That holding and

analysis are controlling here.

This Court, of course, has already determined as much in Witt v. Department

of the Air Force, 527 F.3d 806, 821 (9th Cir. 2008). See Prop. Br. 70-71 n.34.14

Contrary to Plaintiffs’ contentions, see Pl. Br. 69 n.19, the issue preserved by the

plaintiff in Witt for potential en banc consideration was not whether Lawrence

                                                            
14
This Court’s sister circuits have likewise uniformly continued to apply
rational-basis review in this context post-Lawrence. See Cook v. Gates, 528 F.3d
42, 61 (1st Cir. 2008); Johnson v. Johnson, 385 F.3d 503, 532 (5th Cir. 2004);
Scarbrough v. Morgan County Bd. of Educ., 470 F.3d 250, 261 (6th Cir. 2006);
Citizens for Equal Prot. v. Bruning, 455 F.3d 859, 866-67 (8th Cir. 2006); Price-
Cornelison v. Brooks, 524 F.3d 1103, 1114 (10th Cir. 2008); Lofton v. Secretary of
the Dep’t of Children & Family, 358 F.3d 804, 818 (11th Cir. 2004).
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upset circuit precedent rejecting heightened equal protection scrutiny for gays and

lesbians, but simply whether the line drawn by the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

policy between “gay and straight” service members failed even rational-basis

review. See Brief of Appellant at 49-50, Witt (No. 06-35644).

Nor does Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, 130 S. Ct. 2971 (2010), in any

way undermine High Tech Gays’ continuing force. While the Court in that case

stated in passing that its “decisions have declined to distinguish between

[homosexual] status and conduct,” id. at 2990, it did not even address, let alone

purport to resolve, whether gays and lesbians constitute a suspect or quasi-suspect

class under the Equal Protection Clause. At any rate, to the extent the Court’s

passing observation has any relevance here, it simply underscores the degree to

which “[h]omosexuality … is fundamentally different from traits such as race,

gender, or alienage, which define already existing suspect and quasi-suspect

classes,” because “[t]he behavior or conduct of such already recognized classes is

irrelevant to their identification,” High Tech Gays, 895 F.2d at 573-74, not integral

to it, as Christian Legal Society suggests is the case for homosexuals.15

                                                            
15
Conduct, of course, is just one of the complex array of factors that, singly
or in some combination, have been posited as defining features of homosexuality.
See Prop. Br. 71-72. Some courts, like this one, have focused on this behavioral
aspect of homosexuality in distinguishing it from established suspect and quasi-
suspect classifications. See High Tech Gays, 895 F.2d at 573-74; Woodward v.
United States, 871 F.2d at 1076. In reaching the same conclusion, other courts
have looked to other aspects of homosexuality, like the “subjective and unapparent
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Plaintiffs’ reliance on Hernandez-Montiel v. INS, 225 F.3d 1084 (9th Cir.

2000), is likewise misplaced. There, this Court held that “gay men with female

sexual identities in Mexico” form a “particular social group” for purposes of the

asylum laws. See id. at 1087. In reaching this determination, the Court reasoned

that “[s]exual orientation and sexual identity are immutable” in the sense that “they

are so fundamental to one’s identity that a person should not be required to

abandon them.” Id. at 1093. That formulation, however, is not how immutability

is defined for purposes of equal protection law. See Prop. Br. 73-74. And in the

equal protection context, this Court has squarely held that homosexuality is not

immutable, see High Tech Gays, 895 F.2d at 573-74, and it has continued to apply

rational-basis review to classifications based on homosexuality after Hernandez-

Montiel. See Witt, 527 F.3d at 821; Flores v. Morgan Hill Unified Sch. Dist., 324

F.3d 1130, 1137 (9th Cir. 2003).

B. Homosexuality is a complex and amorphous phenomenon,


distinguishing gays and lesbians from other classes the Supreme
Court has recognized as suspect or quasi-suspect.

Further, we have demonstrated that homosexuality is a complex, amorphous

phenomenon lacking any consensus definition and that the proposed suspect class

of gays and lesbians thus differs sharply from other groups that the Supreme Court

has singled out for heightened scrutiny. See Prop. Br. 71-72 & n.36; see also Prof.
                                                                                                                                                                                                
characteristics such as innate desires, drives, and thoughts,” that some identify as
its defining features. Equality Found. v. Cincinnati, 128 F.3d at 294.
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Paul McHugh, M.D. Br. 2-18 (“McHugh Br.”); City of Cleburne v. Cleburne

Living Ctr., 473 U.S. 432, 445-46 (1985) (declining to extend suspect status to an

“amorphous” class of individuals); cf. Holloway v. Arthur Andersen & Co., 566

F.2d 659, 663 (9th Cir. 1977) (rejecting suspect class status for transsexuals

because, inter alia, “the complexities involved merely in defining the term

‘transsexual’ would prohibit” such classification). Indeed even Plaintiffs’ own

experts disagree about the proper definition of the proposed suspect class. See

McHugh Br. 13-14.

Plaintiffs respond that same-sex couples who wish to marry should be

assumed to be homosexuals. Pl. Br. 65. But such a case-specific assumption

provides no clear basis for identifying the proposed suspect class that could apply

in all of the various circumstances in which members of this putative class would

undoubtedly raise equal protection challenges. Plaintiffs also respond that most

individuals can identify themselves as homosexual or straight, but self-

identification is only one of several competing definitions of sexual orientation.

Finally, Plaintiffs invoke popular “assumptions” regarding the existence of

homosexuals as a discrete class. But the fact that many people may not understand

the complexity of defining homosexuality does not eliminate that complexity. Nor

is the difficulty in identifying the proposed suspect class merely theoretical—as

prominent studies and Plaintiffs’ own experts recognize, the competing definitions

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describe very different groups that have remarkably little overlap and range in size

from 1 to 21 percent of the population. See Prop. Br. 72 & n.36.

C. Plaintiffs misapprehend the requirements for heightened


protection under the Equal Protection Clause.

To qualify for heightened scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause, the

burdened class must have experienced a history of discrimination, be defined by an

immutable characteristic, and be politically powerless. High Tech Gays, 895 F.2d

at 573.

Plaintiffs contend that heightened scrutiny may apply absent political

powerlessness and immutability. Not only is this argument flatly inconsistent with

High Tech Gays, but it also cannot be squared with Supreme Court authority.

Indeed, political powerlessness is plainly a sine qua non of protected status: When

a group does not lack political power, it can hardly claim the “extraordinary

protection from the majoritarian political process” provided by heightened equal

protection scrutiny. San Antonio Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 1, 28

(1973). Furthermore, the Supreme Court has plainly recognized political

powerlessness and immutability as “traditional indicia of suspectedness,” Johnson

v. Robison, 415 U.S. 361, 375 n.14 (1974), and the groups it has singled out for

heightened protection have uniformly satisfied those requirements.

Plaintiffs’ cases are not to the contrary. Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena,

515 U.S. 200 (1995), does not hold or imply that political powerlessness is not a
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prerequisite for heightened equal protection scrutiny, but only that all government

racial discrimination, including “reverse discrimination,” is subject to heightened

equal protection scrutiny. See Regents of Univ. of Cal. v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265,

289-90 (1978) (opinion of Powell, J.). Furthermore, if Adarand were taken to

suggest that political powerlessness is unnecessary to establish suspect class status

in the first instance, it would also entail the surprising suggestion that a history of

discrimination is unnecessary as well.

Nor does Frontiero v. Richardson, 411 U.S. 677 (1973), dispense with the

requirement of political powerlessness. There, a plurality of the Court observed

that “when viewed in the abstract, women do not constitute a small and powerless

minority,” id. at 686 n.17, but that in reality women faced “pervasive …

discrimination, … perhaps most conspicuously in the political arena,” id. at 686,

and remained “vastly under-represented in this Nation’s decisionmaking councils,”

id. at 686 n.17.

Plaintiffs claim that Nyquist v. Mauclet, 432 U.S. 1 (1977), dispensed with

immutability as a prerequisite to suspect status because it treated “resident aliens as

a suspect class despite their ability to opt out of that class voluntarily.” Pl. Br. 60

& n.15. But a key distinguishing characteristic that defines this class—birth in a

foreign country—is “determined solely by the accident of birth,” Frontiero, 411

U.S. at 686, and thus is immutable as that term is defined by the Supreme Court.

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See also Parham v. Hughes, 441 U.S. 347, 351 (1979) (identifying “alienage” as

an “immutable human attribute[]”).

Finally, Plaintiffs claim that this Court, in Christian Science Reading Room

Jointly Maintained v. San Francisco, 784 F.2d 1010 (9th Cir. 1986), held that “ ‘an

individual religion meets the requirements for treatment as a suspect class,’ even

though religion is not immutable.” See Pl. Br. 60 n.15 (quoting id. at 1012). But

Christian Science Reading Room simply applied rational-basis review to strike

down a regulation distinguishing between “religious organizations and all others,”

784 F.2d at 1016; the language Plaintiffs quote was dicta. Further, the Supreme

Court has identified the Free Exercise Clause, not the Equal Protection Clause, as

the source of heightened constitutional protection against religious discrimination.

See Locke v. Davey, 540 U.S. 712, 720 n.3 (2004).

D. Gays and lesbians do not meet the requirements for suspect or


quasi-suspect classification.

History of Discrimination. We do not dispute that gays and lesbians have

suffered a history of discrimination. But as this Court correctly held twenty years

ago in High Tech Gays, that history, standing alone, does not warrant applying

heightened equal protection scrutiny to laws that classify on the basis of

homosexuality. See 895 F.2d at 573. That decision, if anything, is on even firmer

ground now, given that, as Plaintiffs’ expert Professor Chauncey notes, “it is hard

to think of another group whose circumstances and public reputation have changed
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so decisively in so little time. For several decades now, and especially since the

1990s, Americans have become more familiar with their lesbian and gay neighbors

and more supportive of them.” ER 1903; see also ER 1902 (explaining that “most

[anti-gay discriminatory measures] were dismantled between the 1960s and

1990s”).

Immutability. As we have demonstrated, heightened scrutiny is reserved for

groups defined by “an immutable characteristic determined solely by accident of

birth.” Prop. Br. 73-74; accord Johnson v. Robison, 415 U.S. at 375 n.14. As their

own experts admit, Plaintiffs cannot prove that homosexuality is determined solely

by accident of birth. See Prop. Br. 74 & n.38; see also McHugh Br. 18-22.

Plaintiffs completely ignore this legal requirement, which alone is fatal to their

argument for heightened scrutiny under the Equal Protection Clause.

In addition, we have demonstrated, and Plaintiffs’ experts admit, that

homosexual orientation shifts over time for a substantial number of individuals.

See Prop. Br. 74 & n.39; McHugh Br. 22-29. To take just one example, the

Chicago Study—which Plaintiffs’ experts recognize as “the authoritative source of

data” on sexuality, see Prop. Br. 72—demonstrates that 90 percent of women and

80 percent of men who have had same-sex intimate partners as adults have also

had opposite-sex partners. ER 1207. Plaintiffs argue that this shows only “that

some gay men and lesbians may have experimented with heterosexual intimacy,”

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Pl. Br. 64, but the same study shows that 25 percent of individuals who have had

same-sex partners in the last year have also had opposite-sex partners, and that

approximately half of men and nearly two-thirds of women who have had same-sex

partners in the last five years have also had opposite-sex partners. ER 1207.

Plainly these numbers cannot be dismissed as evidence of nothing more than

“experimentation.”

Plaintiffs also rely on testimony from their expert Professor Herek, but his

own research reports that 13 percent of self-identified gay men and 30 percent of

self-identified lesbians say that they experience a meaningful degree of choice in

their sexual orientation. ER 1912. These statistics, even at face value, are utterly

inconsistent with any finding that gays and lesbians are a class defined by an

immutable characteristic. Indeed, statistics such as these would be unthinkable for

other classes, such as women or racial minorities, that the Supreme Court has

singled out for heightened protection under the Equal Protection Clause.16

Political Power. Plaintiffs likewise ignore the controlling legal test of

political power established by the Supreme Court and applied by this Court. See
                                                            
16
Further, the fact that any given individual reports that he or she
experiences little or no choice with respect to homosexual orientation does not
mean that his or her orientation has not changed in the past, or that it might not
change in the future. See ER 1716-17 (Herek) (acknowledging that study does
“not really shed any light” on the question “whether people’s sexual orientation
had changed”); ER 1718 (Herek) (acknowledging that “if you are trying to predict
for any specific individual whether their identify will predict their sexual behavior
in the future, especially, that can be problematic”).
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City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Ctr., 473 U.S. at 445; High Tech Gays, 895

F.2d at 574 (citing Cleburne). And it is no wonder, because the evidence is

overwhelming that gays and lesbians have the “ability to attract the attention of the

lawmakers.” Cleburne, 473 U.S. at 445. In California, the Speaker of the

Assembly is openly gay, ER 1709; a majority of the members of the legislature

have received a 100% rating from the largest gay rights group in the state, Equality

California, see Equality California, 2009 Legislative Scorecard at 5-7, at

http://www.eqca.org/atf/cf/%7B34f258b3-8482-4943-91cb-

08c4b0246a88%7D/EQCA_LEG_SCORECARD_2009.PDF; and California has

passed more than 60 pieces of legislation sponsored by Equality California over

the last decade alone, see Equality Cal. Br. 1-2—virtually the entire political

agenda of California’s LGBT community during this period except redefining

marriage. At the federal level, gays and lesbians have a staunch ally in Speaker

Pelosi, among many other legislators, ER 172017; President Obama has adopted a

raft of initiatives sought by gay interest groups, see Concerned Women of America

Br. 8-9 (“CWA Br.”); he has appointed more gays and lesbians in the first two

years of his administration to positions than President Clinton did in his entire

                                                            
17
See also http://www.hrc.org/scorecard/ (rating Pelosi at 100% for three
consecutive Congresses).
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eight years in office18; Congress has enacted hate crimes legislation sought by the

LGBT community, see 18 U.S.C. § 249(a)(2); and the House earlier this year voted

to end the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, see CWA Br. 8. See generally

CWA Br. (detailing gays’ and lesbians’ political power).19

Plaintiffs try to evade this Court’s holding in High Tech Gays that gays and

lesbians have the ability to attract the attention of lawmakers on the ground that

this case has a “vastly different record.” Pl. Br. 69. Indeed it does. The political

power of gays and lesbians has increased exponentially over the last two decades:

all of the achievements detailed above (and countless others) have occurred since

High Tech Gays was decided; the allies of gays and lesbians have become far more

numerous and powerful since that time, see, e.g. ER 1884 (listing scores of civil

rights organizations, unions, national organizations, elected officials, and others

endorsing the No-on-8 cause); and the vast majority of the numerous local, state,

                                                            
18
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/10/26/obama-appoints-
record-number-gay-officials/?test=latestnews  
19
Plaintiffs ask the Court to ignore the political power of gays in California,
but where there are significant regional variations in a group’s power, it surely
makes sense to assess political power within the juridical entity that enacted the
challenged law. Thus, in City of Richmond v. J. A. Croson Co., 488 U.S. 469, 495-
96 (1989), where the Supreme Court analyzed the validity of racial quotas enacted
by the City of Richmond, the Court properly focused on the fact that blacks were a
majority of the City Council and whites were a minority. In any event, while the
ability of gays and lesbians to attract the attention of lawmakers is particularly
noteworthy in California, their achievements in Washington, D.C. make clear that
they plainly do not lack this ability at the federal level.
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and federal laws now protecting gays and lesbians postdate High Tech Gays.20

Plaintiffs point out that many states since High Tech Gays have reaffirmed

the traditional definition of marriage. But in 1990, no state in the union had

redefined marriage to include gays and lesbians, and no state had a domestic

partnership regime extending the tangible benefits of marriage to gays and

lesbians. Thus, even on the metric highlighted by Plaintiffs, the political landscape

shows the increasing power of gays and lesbians.

In a last ditch effort to demonstrate political powerlessness, Plaintiffs draw

comparisons to the power of African Americans and women. As for African

Americans, any comparison is inapposite since “the clear and central purpose of

the Fourteenth Amendment was to eliminate all official state sources of invidious

racial discrimination in the States.” Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1, 10 (1967);

Miller v. Johnson, 515 U.S. 900, 904 (1995) (The Equal Protection Clause’s
                                                            
20
Twenty years ago, for example, laws prohibiting sexual orientation
discrimination in employment and punishing hate crimes committed on the basis of
sexual orientation were extremely rare. Today, such laws are commonplace. See,
e.g., 18 U.S.C. § 249; Human Rights Campaign (“HRC”), State Hate Crimes Laws,
available at http://www.hrc.org/documents/hate_crime_laws.pdf (last visited
August 4, 2010) (As of June 1, 2009, 31 states and D.C. have laws that address
hate crimes based on sexual orientation); HRC, Statewide Employment Laws &
Policies, available at http://www.hrc.org/documents/Employment_Laws_and_
Policies.pdf (August 4, 2010) (As of July 26, 2010, 21 states and D.C. prohibit
discrimination based on sexual orientation); HRC, The State of the Workplace at 4
(2009), available at http://www.hrc.org/documents/HRC_Foundation_State_of_
the_Workplace_2007-2008.pdf (last visited August 4, 2010) (As of 2008, 181
cities and counties banned employment discrimination on the basis of sexual
orientation). 
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“central mandate is racial neutrality in governmental decisionmaking.”) (emphasis

added).

As for women, the plurality in Frontiero v. Richardson, 411 U.S. 677, 685

(1973), identified five ways in which the plight of women mirrored that of slaves:

There was a time when neither could hold office, neither could serve on juries,

neither could bring suit in their own names, neither had the legal capacity to hold

or convey property, and both were denied the right to vote for much of American

history. None of these special disabilities have ever been visited upon gays and

lesbians because of their sexual orientation. The plurality also noted that “women

are vastly under-represented in this Nation’s decisionmaking councils.” 411 U.S.

at 686 n.17. At that time, there were no women in the United States Senate, and

less than four percent of the members of the House of Representatives were

women even though women constituted a majority of the electorate. By contrast,

gays and lesbians today constitute over three percent of the California legislature,

including the Speaker, see ER 1797, and almost 1% of the U.S. House of

Representatives, see ER 1708—and there may well be other gays serving in

Congress. Given the percentage of gays and lesbians in the population, the degree

of their underrepresentation, if any, simply pales when compared to the facts in

Frontiero. Moreover, the majority in Cleburne did not even reference, let alone

place dispositive weight upon, the relative underrepresentation of disabled

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legislators.

E. Proposition 8 does not discriminate on the basis of sex.

As the overwhelming majority of appellate courts to consider the matter

have recognized, the traditional definition of marriage treats men and women

equally and thus does not discriminate on the basis of sex. See Prop. Br. 75 n.40;

Fam. Res. Council Br. 9-16. Plaintiffs’ reliance on Loving is foreclosed by the

Supreme Court’s decision in Baker, which summarily rejected, despite appellants’

repeated citations to Loving, the claim that limiting marriage to opposite-sex

couples constitutes unconstitutional sex discrimination. See ER 1610-14. Baker is

not only controlling, but clearly correct, for Loving involved race discrimination,

not sex discrimination. And in the sex-discrimination context, unlike the race-

discrimination context, “[a]ll of the [Supreme Court’s] seminal … decisions …

have invalidated statutes that single out men or women as a discrete class for

unequal treatment.” Baker v. State, 744 A.2d 864, 880 n.13 (Vt. 1999) (collecting

cases).

Furthermore, the Loving Court easily saw Virginia’s antimiscegenation laws

for what they were, regardless of their purported equal treatment of blacks and

whites: “measures designed to maintain White Supremacy,” with “patently no

legitimate overriding purpose independent of invidious racial discrimination.” 388

U.S. at 11. The definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman, by

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contrast, serves vital societal interests and cannot be dismissed as a relic of

“outdated and unfounded” gender stereotypes. Pl. Br. 72; see Prop. Br. 53-59, 66-

68. Indeed, even the California Supreme Court in In re Marriage Cases rejected

the argument that California’s marriage laws—including Proposition 22, the

identically worded predecessor to Proposition 8—were “grounded in an outdated

stereotypical view of the appropriate roles of men and women in a marriage.” 183

P.3d at 440 n.58.

Finally, the premise of Plaintiffs’ sex-discrimination theory, as set forth by

Plaintiffs and the district court, is that if Plaintiff “Perry were a man,” she and

Plaintiff Stier could marry. Pl. Br. 71-72 (quoting ER 154). But this assertion is at

war with the essential theory of Plaintiffs’ case: that because of their homosexual

orientation, marriage to a member of the opposite sex is not a meaningful option.

So if she became a man but remained homosexual, marriage to a woman would no

longer be an option for Plaintiff Perry. It is plain, then, that the gravamen of

Plaintiffs’ complaint is not gender discrimination but how Proposition 8 affects

them as gays and lesbians.

VII. PROPOSITION 8 ADVANCES VITAL STATE INTERESTS, AND THUS PLAINLY


SATISFIES RATIONAL BASIS REVIEW.

Proposition 8 advances California’s vital interests in responsible procreation

and childrearing and in proceeding with caution when considering fundamental

changes to the institution of marriage, and thus easily satisfies rational-basis


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review.21 Indeed, in light of the importance of these interests, see Prop. Br. 78; SF

Br. 9 (conceding that “society has a paramount interest in ‘providing status and

stability to the environment in which children are raised’”), as well as their close

connection to the traditional definition of marriage, Proposition 8 satisfies

heightened scrutiny as well.

                                                            
21
Like the district court, see, ER 168, Plaintiffs attempt to dismiss these
interests as “post hoc” justifications, Pl. Br. 54-55 n.14, 97. But under rational-
basis review, of course, lawmakers “need not actually articulate at any time the
purpose or rationale supporting [a] classification.” Heller, 509 U.S. at 320.
Indeed, “it is entirely irrelevant for constitutional purposes whether the conceived
reason for [Proposition 8] actually motivated” California’s voters. FCC v. Beach
Commc’ns, Inc., 508 U.S. 307, 315 (1993). This is particularly true in the context
of a ballot initiative, for it is obviously not possible to identify a single animating
purpose of seven million voters, and so the voters’ decision must be upheld if it
can be justified on any conceivable rational basis. See Romer, 517 U.S. at 631
(citing Heller, 509 U.S. at 319-20). In any event, even a cursory look at the
campaign materials demonstrates that the ProtectMarriage.com campaign clearly
articulated these purposes, not only in the official ballot argument, but in video and
printed materials. See, e.g., ER 1032 (“Proposition 8 protects marriage as an
essential institution of society. While death, divorce, or other circumstances may
prevent the ideal, the best situation for a child is to be raised by a married mother
and father.”); id. (Proposition 8 “restores the definition of marriage to what the
vast majority of California voters already approved and human history has
understood marriage to be.”); ER 2006 (“Marriage involves a complex web of
social, legal, and spiritual commitments that bind men and women for one
overriding societal purpose: to create a loving environment for the raising up of
children.”); ER 1036-37; ER 1039. Indeed, Plaintiffs concede that the argument
“that ‘the best situation for a child is to be raised by a married mother and father’
was a central theme of the Yes on 8 campaign.” Pl. Br. 77. Further, because
Proposition 8 preserves the traditional definition and form of marriage and thus
provides special encouragement and support to those relationships that uniquely
further the interests that marriage has always served, its purposes are evident “from
its text, structure, and operation.” Nguyen v. INS, 533 U.S. 53, 67-68 (2001).
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A. Rational basis review is not limited to economic legislation.

Plaintiffs complain that the rational basis standard applicable here is the

same as that “a court might apply to everyday economic legislation.” Pl. Br. 3.

But the Supreme Court has made clear that rational-basis review applies in “areas

of social and economic policy” so long as the challenged law, like Proposition 8,

“neither proceeds along suspect lines nor infringes fundamental constitutional

rights.” FCC v. Beach Commc’ns, Inc., 508 U.S. 307, 313 (1993); accord Board

of Trustees of the Univ. of Ala. v. Garrett, 531 U.S. 356, 366 (2001); Cleburne, 473

U.S. at 440. Indeed, the Supreme Court has repeatedly applied rational-basis

review beyond the context of laws that “adjust in nice gradations the economic

benefits and burdens of life in American society.” Pl. Br. 3. See, e.g., Glucksberg,

521 U.S. at 728 (assisted suicide); Romer, 517 U.S. at 632 (Colorado’s

Amendment 2); Heller, 509 U.S. at 314, 319-21 (“involuntary civil commitments

of those alleged to be mentally retarded”); Cleburne, 473 U.S. at 446-47

(discrimination against the mentally retarded); Maher v. Roe, 432 U.S. 464, 478

(1977) (abortion funding); Massachusetts Bd. of Retirement v. Murgia, 427 U.S.

307, 312-14 (1976) (discrimination against the aged).

B. Proposition 8 is closely related to California’s vital interest in


responsible procreation and childrearing.

We have demonstrated that a central—indeed animating—purpose of

marriage, always and everywhere, has been to further society’s compelling interest
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in increasing the likelihood that children will be born to and raised in enduring and

stable family units by the couples who brought them into the world. See Prop. Br.

54-60, 78. Because only sexual relationships between men and women can

produce children, such relationships have the potential to further—or harm—this

interest in a way that other types of relationships do not. See id. 77-87. As state

and federal courts across the country have repeatedly recognized, it follows that the

“commonsense distinction,” Heller v. Doe, 509 U.S. 312, 326 (1993), that our law

has always drawn between opposite-sex couples, on the one hand, and all other

types of relationships—including same-sex couples—on the other hand, plainly

bears a rational relationship to “the government interest in ‘steering procreation

into marriage.’ ” Bruning, 455 F.3d at 867; see also Prop. Br. 82-83, 91-93; States

Br. 12-29.

Plaintiffs do not dispute that “traditional opposite-sex marriage” furthers this

interest. Pl Br. 57; accord id. 23. Indeed, in the proceedings below they expressly

conceded that “ ‘responsible procreation’ may provide a rational basis for the

State’s recognition of marriages by individuals of the opposite-sex.” ER 1785.

Plaintiffs likewise have been forced to acknowledge the biological reality that

same-sex relationships do not implicate this interest in the same way opposite-sex

relationships do. As Plaintiffs’ lead counsel conceded below, same-sex couples

“don’t present a threat of irresponsible procreation” but “heterosexual couples who

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practice sexual behavior outside their marriage are a big threat to irresponsible

procreation.” ER355. These concessions—forced grudgingly out of Plaintiffs by

undeniable biological facts—are the end of this case, for it is well settled both that

a classification will be upheld when “the inclusion of one group promotes a

legitimate governmental purpose, and the addition of other groups would not,”

Johnson, 415 U.S. at 383, and, conversely, that the government may make special

provision for a group if its activities “threaten legitimate interests … in a way that

other [groups’ activities] would not,” Cleburne, 473 U.S. at 448; see generally

Vance, 440 U.S. at 109 (law may “dr[aw] a line around those groups … thought

most generally pertinent to its objective”).

1. Without acknowledging the “host of judicial decisions” upholding the

line drawn by the traditional definition of marriage on these essential grounds,

Bruning, 455 F.3d at 867; see also Prop. Br. 91-92 (collecting cases), Plaintiffs

claim that the rule set forth in Johnson and other cases is limited to circumstances

where some line must be drawn to allocate scarce resources. See Pl. Br. 88.

Leaving aside the obvious point that some lines must be, and always have been,

drawn somewhere between those relationships that the State recognizes as

marriages and those that it does not if the institution of marriage is to have any

meaning at all, Plaintiffs are simply wrong that the rule is limited to cases

involving scarce resources.

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While Johnson upheld the Government’s decision to provide educational

benefits to active service veterans but not to conscientious objectors who provided

alternative service outside the military, neither the Government nor the Court

justified this decision on the ground of scarcity. Rather, the Court accepted the

Government’s argument that providing the benefits to veterans furthered interests

that would not be served by providing the benefits to conscientious objectors. See

415 U.S. at 381-83. Vance upheld the Government’s decision to establish a

mandatory retirement age for foreign-service but not civil-service employees.

Plainly no principle of scarcity prevented the Government from extending the

mandatory retirement age to all employees, but the Court held that the line

Congress drew between these two groups of employees was nonetheless justified

because the interests served by mandatory retirement were in general more

pertinent to foreign-service than to civil-service employees. See 440 U.S. at 106-

09. And Cleburne—which struck down a municipal zoning law requiring special

use permits for homes for mentally retarded individuals but not for other similar

uses that implicated the city’s legitimate interests in the same way—obviously did

not turn on any sort of scarcity.

More generally, these cases simply reflect the broader principle that “where

a group possesses ‘distinguishing characteristics relevant to interests the State has

the authority to implement,’ a State’s decision to act on the basis of those

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differences does not give rise to a constitutional violation,” Board of Trustees of

the Univ. of Ala. v. Garrett, 531 U.S. 356, 366-67 (2001)—a rule that indisputably

applies generally without regard to resource scarcity. See also, e.g., Cleburne, 473

U.S. at 441 (similar); Vacco v. Quill, 521 U.S. 793, 799 (1997) (“The Constitution

does not require things which are different in fact or opinion to be treated in law as

though they were the same.”). Plaintiffs’ contrary argument—that when the State

recognizes opposite-sex marriages because they serve the State’s procreative

interests, it is constitutionally obliged to also recognize same-sex marriages even

though they do not similarly further those interests—is a non sequitur that is not, of

course, the law. To the contrary, by definition, a line drawn between those who

most clearly implicate a government interest and those who do not cannot be said

to “rest[ ] on grounds wholly irrelevant to the achievement of the State’s

objective,” as it must to fail rational-basis review. Heller, 509 U.S. at 324.

Plaintiffs are thus simply wrong in contending that California’s refusal to

recognize same-sex relationships as marriages must itself further the State’s

interest in responsible procreation. See Pl. Br. 57. To be sure, these interests are,

we submit, furthered by California’s refusal to do so—as we have demonstrated,

there are substantial reasons for concern that redefining marriage to include same-

sex relationships would weaken that institution and harm the interests it has

traditionally served. See Prop. Br. 93-104. But the relevant constitutional inquiry

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is whether the distinction drawn by the traditional definition of marriage between

opposite-sex couples and all other types of relationships bears “a rational

relationship” to “some legitimate governmental purpose,” Heller, 509 U.S. at 320,

not, as Plaintiffs would in effect have it, whether that distinction is necessary to

advance that purpose, see, e.g., Vance, 440 U.S. at 102 n.20 (holding it “irrelevant

… that other alternatives might achieve approximately the same results”). Indeed,

even where heightened scrutiny applies, the Supreme Court has rejected the

argument that a statutory distinction may be upheld only if it is necessary to

achieve the government’s purpose. See Michael M. v. Superior Court, 450 U.S.

464, 473 (1981) (plurality) (rejecting argument that statutory rape statute punishing

only males was “not necessary to deter teenage pregnancy because a gender-

neutral statute, where both male and female would be subject to prosecution,

would serve that goal equally well” as, inter alia, not reflecting “[t]he relevant

inquiry”).22

2. Plaintiffs also argue that the classification drawn by the traditional

definition of marriage does not bear a rational relationship to the state’s

                                                            
22
Contrary to Plaintiffs’ contentions, see Pl. Br. 57-58, 89, Romer does not
reflect a different rule. Romer struck down Amendment 2 not because its
treatment of gays and lesbians was unnecessary to further the purposes served by
“Colorado’s antidiscrimination laws protecting other minority groups,” Pl. Br. 58,
but because the sweeping disparity of treatment it established between gay men
and lesbians, on the one hand, and all other citizens, on the other hand, did not bear
a reasonable relationship to any government purpose. See 517 U.S. at 633, 635.
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indisputably legitimate—indeed compelling—interest in responsible procreation

because opposite-sex couples who are unable or unwilling to procreate are

permitted to marry. See Pl. Br. 89. But it is well settled that rational-basis review

allows the State to draw bright lines, “rough accommodations,” Heller, 509 U.S. at

321, and “commonsense distinction[s],” id. at 326, based on “generalization[s],”

id., presumptions, see Murgia, 427 U.S. at 315, and “common-sense

proposition[s],” Vance, 440 U.S. at 112. And “courts are compelled under

rational-basis review to accept [such] generalizations,” Heller, 509 U.S. at 321,

presumptions, and propositions unless they hold true in “so few” circumstances “as

to render [a line based upon them] wholly unrelated to the objective” of the law

drawing that line, Murgia, 427 U.S. at 315-16; see also Williamson v. Lee Optical,

348 U.S. 483, 487 (1955) (upholding categorical rule that was based on an

assumption that the legislature “might have concluded” was “often enough” true).

The presumption that sexual relationships between men and women can

result in pregnancy and childbirth holds true for the vast majority of couples and is

plainly sufficient to render rational, at least, the “commonsense distinction” the law

has always drawn between opposite-sex couples, on the one hand, and same-sex

couples, who are categorically incapable of natural procreation, on the other hand.

Furthermore, as we have already demonstrated, any attempt to ensure a closer fit

between marriage and society’s interest in responsible procreation would be

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burdensome, intolerably intrusive, and ultimately ineffective. See Prop. Br. 60-64.

For all of these reasons, it is not surprising that courts have repeatedly rejected the

argument that allowing opposite-sex couples who cannot, or do not intend to, have

children to marry defeats the rational relationship between marriage and

responsible procreation. See id. 61 n.28.

Indeed, as the district court recognized in Adams v. Howerton, because case-

by-case inquiries into fertility are simply not a “real alternative” for achieving

society’s “compelling interest in encouraging and fostering procreation … and

providing status and stability to the environment in which children are raised,”

allowing “legal marriage as between all couples of opposite sex” is “the least

intrusive alternative available to protect the procreative relationship.” 486 F. Supp.

2d 1119, 1124-25 (1980), aff’d on other grounds, 673 F.2d 1036 (9th Cir. 1982).

Accordingly, that court concluded that the traditional definition of marriage could

survive even strict scrutiny. Id.; see also Nguyen v. INS, 533 U.S. 53, 69-70 (2001)

(even where heightened scrutiny applies, courts have not “required that the statute

under consideration must be capable of achieving its ultimate objective in every

instance” and Congress may enact “an easily administered scheme” to avoid “the

subjectivity, intrusiveness, and difficulties of proof” of “an inquiry into any

particular bond or tie”). Similarly, applying heightened scrutiny in a closely

analogous context, the Supreme Court rejected as “ludicrous” an argument that a

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law criminalizing statutory rape for the purpose of preventing teenage pregnancies

was “impermissibly overbroad because it makes unlawful sexual intercourse with

prepubescent females, who are, by definition, incapable of becoming pregnant.”

Michael M., 450 U.S. at 475 (plurality); see also id. at 480 n.10 (Stewart, J.,

concurring) (rejecting argument that the statute was “overinclusive because it does

not allow a defense that contraceptives were used, or that procreation was for some

other reason impossible,” because, inter alia, “a statute recognizing [such

defenses] would encounter difficult if not impossible problems of proof”). For all

of these reasons, society’s undisputed and compelling interest in channeling

procreation into marriage plainly suffices to sustain Proposition 8 against

Plaintiffs’ constitutional attack.

3. California’s interest in responsible procreation and childrearing does

not depend on any judgment about the relative parenting capabilities of opposite-

sex and same-sex couples. See Prop. Br. 84-87. Plaintiffs’ discussion of the same-

sex parenting literature nonetheless confirms that the instinctive, commonsense

belief that married biological parents provide the optimal environment for raising

children is entirely rational. Plaintiffs fail to cite to a single study comparing

outcomes for the children of married biological parents and those of same-sex

parents. Thus, Plaintiffs have failed to undermine, let alone remove “from debate,”

the studies showing that married biological parents provide the best structure for

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raising children. See Prop. Br. 78-82, 87; Paul R. Amato, The Impact of Family

Formation Change on the Cognitive, Social, and Emotional Well-Being of the Next

Generation, 15 FUTURE CHILD 75, 89 (2005) (ER 371) (“Research clearly

demonstrates that children growing up with two continuously married parents are

less likely than other children to experience a wide range of cognitive, emotional,

and social problems, not only during childhood, but also in adulthood…. This

distinction is even stronger if we focus on children growing up with two happily

married biological parents.”); see also American College of Pediatricians Br. 4-16

(“ACP Br.”).23

Plaintiffs respond that “[i]f one is studying the impact of parenting by same-

sex couples, … the appropriate comparison group is unmarried heterosexual

parents.” Pl. Br. 86. But such studies would say nothing about whether the

benefits of marriage would flow equally to children of gays and lesbians as they do

to the children of married biological parents. And even if Plaintiffs framed the

right question, the studies they trumpet fail to follow their own methodology:

during cross-examination, their expert, Dr. Lamb, admitted that the studies he

                                                            
23
The weakness of Plaintiffs’ position is underscored by their reliance on the
deposition testimony of Dr. Paul Nathanson, Proponents’ withdrawn expert on
comparative religion, who expressly disclaimed expertise in fields relevant to the
same-sex parenting literature. ER 1997-2000. In any event, Dr. Nathanson clearly
expressed his view that it was in society’s interest for children to be raised by their
biological mothers and fathers. ER 2001-02.  

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relied upon drew no distinction between the children of married and unmarried

heterosexual couples. ER 271.

As Professor Steven Nock of the University of Virginia has demonstrated,

the same-sex parenting literature is a shell game, carefully constructed with two

critical steps designed to ensure the desired results. See ER 596; see also, e.g.,

ACP Br. 6-8. First, researchers start with the assumption that the children of

heterosexuals and gays and lesbians have the same outcomes, a dubious

assumption in light of the many studies showing that family structures with only

one non-biological parent are suboptimal. See, e.g., ER 362, 545.

Second, the studies use “miniscule” samples. Judith Stacey & Timothy J.

Biblarz, (How) Does the Sexual Orientation of Parents Matter?, 66 AM. SOC. REV.

159, 168 n.9 (2001) (ER 1942, 1951). The small samples allow the many

differences observed between the children of opposite-sex and same-sex couples to

be dismissed as statistically insignificant, leaving the initial assumption

undisturbed.24 The 2010 meta-analysis trumpeted by Plaintiffs makes this very

                                                            
24
See, e.g., Wainright, J., Delinquency, Victimization, and Substance Use
Among Adolescents With Famale Same-Sex Parents, 20 JOURNAL OF FAMILY
PSYCHOLOGY 526, 528 (2006) (ER 1897) (children of same-sex parents fared
worse than the children of opposite sex parents including being more likely to have
sex under the influence of alcohol or drugs and more likely to encounter problems
related to alcohol); FIONA TASKER, GROWING UP IN A LESBIAN FAMILY: EFFECTS
ON CHILD DEVELOPMENT 127-33 (1997) (ER 1969-75) (finding children of lesbians
more likely to engage in premarital promiscuous sex than children of opposite sex
couples).
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point: “some of the findings of no differences may miss real differences … because

some studies use levels of significance that may be too restrictive for their very

small samples.” Judith Stacey & Timothy J. Biblarz, How Does the Gender of

Parents Matter? JOURNAL OF MARRIAGE AND FAMILY 3, 8 (2010). And to make

matters worse, the tiny samples are not randomly selected, and thus the meta-

analysis cited by Plaintiffs acknowledges that “[t]his research remains

disproportionately on White, middle-class families.” Id. at 10.25

Plaintiffs respond that while past studies lacked representative samples “now

there is a study based upon the most representative sample imaginable—the United

States Census.” Pl. Br. 87. But even this lone study itself concedes that “the

census data are far from ideal for the subject under study here.” SER 572. Further,

this study did not purport to find broad similarities between children of same-sex

and opposite-sex couples. Rather, it focused narrowly on grade retention—

whether children were held back in school—and did not measure any other aspects

of child adjustment. SER 577. The study noted “the unadjusted means show that

own children of heterosexual married couples are significantly less likely to be left

back in school than own children of same-sex couples.” SER 588. It thus tells us

                                                            
25
Plaintiffs also cite five professional organizations’ policy statements, but
these pronouncements rest on the same inconclusive studies relied on by Plaintiffs
here, and thus amount to little more than manifestos of prevailing orthodoxy, just
as were prior unfavorable statements issued by these very organizations regarding
homosexuality.
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nothing that undermines the widely shared understanding that married biological

parents provide the optimal environment for raising children.26

Plaintiffs cite Professor Norval Glenn as acknowledging that “[t]here have

been dozens of studies of same-sex parenting.” Pl. Br. 86 (quoting ER 447). But,

Professor Glenn continues, “this body of research leaves open the question about

the relative efficacy of same-sex and opposite-sex parenting.” ER 447. He notes

that “[t]he research that would provide relevant evidence has not been done, and …

is not likely soon to be done.” ER 448. Indeed, he fears the pertinent research will

never be conducted

due to the political struggle for same-sex marriage. Given the


widespread support for same-sex marriage among social and
behavioral scientists, it is becoming politically incorrect in academic
circles even to suggest that arguments being used in support of same-
sex marriage might be wrong. There already seems to be some
reluctance on the part of researchers and scholars to address issues
concerning fatherlessness and the relative merits of same-sex and
opposite-sex parenting.

Id.

Plaintiffs claim that “[Proponents] offered no witness … and identified no

                                                            
26
Plaintiffs also claim that “whereas earlier opponents of same-sex parenting
complained of the absence of ‘long-term, longitudinal studies,’ … now there are
studies that have followed children from infancy into early adulthood.” Pl. Br. 87.
But the study cited by Plaintiffs as paradigmatic looked at a small sample, did not
include gay fathers, and did not purport to compare same-sex parents to married
biological parents. See SER 460, 468. Although not all of Plaintiffs’ studies share
the complete universe of flaws, the fact remains that none makes a relevant
comparison with a robust random sample. 
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basis in social science” to support the proposition that children benefit from being

raised by their married biological parents. Pl. Br. 83. 27 Not only have we cited

authoritative studies making just this point, see Prop. Br. 78-81, 87, Plaintiffs’ own

studies acknowledge that “[s]tudies of family structure and children’s outcomes

nearly universally find at least a modest advantage for children raised by their

married biological parents.” E.g., SER 568.

Finally, Plaintiffs claim that a “tide” of research shows that adopted children

do just as well as children raised by their biological parents and thus demonstrates

that the biological connection between children and parents is irrelevant. Pl. Br.
                                                            
27
Plaintiffs claim that after Proponents’ withdrawn expert Professor Marks
was shown that some studies he relied on included a small number of adopted
children as biological children, “he offered to revise his opinion that married
biological parents were the ideal family structure … by deleting the word
‘biological.’ ” Pl. Br. 84. To the contrary, while Marks agreed that the word
“biological” should be deleted with respect to some of the studies he cited, Marks
Depo. at 147, 277-78, he characterized the assertion that the inclusion of adopted
children in some of the studies invalidated his conclusions as “ridiculous.” Marks
Depo. at 185. (Marks Deposition excerpts are attached as Exhibit B.) Marks
ultimately concluded that even with “marriage-based adoptive families as the wild
card … there is a potent outcome difference when you combine biology and
marriage.” Id. at 169-70.
Plaintiffs’ claim that Marks refused to endorse the proposition “that children
benefit from having a parent of each gender,” Pl. Br. 84-85, rests on a semantic
game. Marks referred to himself as “agnostic” as to the theory of “gender-
differentiated parenting,” only because he considered gender to be “defined as
cultural as opposed to sex, which would be more biologically driven.” Marks
Depo. at 203-04. He clearly articulated that children benefit from having parents
with biologically different sexes, a mother and a father: “I don’t think I make any
specific arguments that argue a whole lot about the cultural construct of gender.
I’m dealing with sex, a “biological father and biological mother.” Id. at 203; see
also ACP Br. 16-27. 
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83-84. Yet, as one of the very studies cited by Plaintiffs acknowledges, “many

studies and several meta-analyses have shown that adopted children lag behind in

physical growth, school performance, and language abilities; show more

attachment and behavior problems; and are substantially overrepresented in mental

health referrals and services for learning problems.” SER 490. The study also

recognizes that “adoptees have to cope with difficulties connected with the lack of

genetic relatedness … to their adoptive parents.” SER 491.

Further, adoptive parents must pass through a rigorous screening process and

are therefore disproportionately likely to be “well educated” and to provide their

“adopted children with an enriched and nurturing environment.” SER 491. Thus,

evidence that the children of all married, biological parents have similar outcomes

to a tiny subclass of children raised by carefully screened adoptive parents does not

refute, but supports, the idea that, all things being equal, the interests of children

are best served when they are raised by their married, biological parents.

Plaintiffs, in short, have not come close to disproving the instinctive, deeply

ingrained belief that, all else being equal, children are most likely to thrive when

raised by the father and mother who brought them into this world. And Plaintiffs

certainly have not shown this belief to be irrational.

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C. Proposition 8 advances California’s interest in proceeding with


caution when considering a fundamental change to a vital social
institution.

Our opening brief demonstrated why Californians reasonably may decide to

await further results of nascent experiments with same-sex marriage in other

jurisdictions before fundamentally redefining that bedrock institution. Prop. Br.

93-104. Plaintiffs say that our “failure of proof”—evinced by a lack of supporting

affidavits or witness testimony discussing “data” and “studies”—means that this

interest in proceeding with caution cannot be sustained. Pl. Br. 92-94. But it is

Plaintiffs, not we, who bear the burden of proof. And the burden they bear is not

merely to show by a preponderance of the evidence that concerns about the long-

term societal impact of fundamentally redefining marriage are unwarranted, but to

demonstrate conclusively that such concerns are not even “plausible,” “reasonably

conceivable,” “debatable,” or “arguable.” Heller, 509 U.S. at 320, 326, 333. In

other words, Plaintiffs must show that those who believe society should further

study the issue before fundamentally redefining marriage are not just wrong, but

irrational.

Plaintiffs cannot, of course, meet this heavy burden. They deride the idea

that redefining marriage to include same-sex couples could have negative long-

term consequences as simply a “theory,” Pl. Br. 93, but due to the novelty of same-

sex marriage, opinions about its potential effects—whether positive, negative, or

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indifferent—are necessarily theoretical.

And while the future societal consequences of redefining marriage cannot

yet be known with certainty, concerns about them are certainly rational. They are

rooted principally in recognition of the fact that eliminating the necessary presence

of a man and a woman from the legal definition of marriage decisively severs any

inherent connection between that institution and societal interests in responsible

procreation and childrearing, thus leading to the eminently reasonable concern that

over time such a change would harm marriage’s ability to serve these vital

interests. Indeed, these concerns are shared by scores of scholars from all relevant

disciplines, see, e.g., WITHERSPOON INSTITUTE, MARRIAGE AND THE PUBLIC GOOD

18-19 (2006), recognized as reasonable by prominent supporters of same-sex

marriage, see, e.g., William Meezan & Jonathan Rauch, Gay Marriage, Same-Sex

Parenting, and America’s Children, 15 FUTURE CHILDREN 97, 110 (2005), and

based in substantial part on the arguments made in support of same-sex marriage

and their necessary implications, see, e.g., DAVID BLANKENHORN, THE FUTURE OF

MARRIAGE 127-69 (2007) (ER 1800-1842.). See generally Nat’l Org. Marriage Br.

The feeble evidence Plaintiffs marshal against this precautionary interest

does nothing to undercut its obvious rationality. Indeed, even the authors of the

“seminal” 2009 study that Plaintiffs say “empirically tested” claims that redefining

marriage could harm the institution of marriage, Pl. Br. 92, acknowledged that

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“[w]e cannot say that we have disproved the existence of a link between laws

permitting gay marriage and a negative impact on ‘family values’ indicators,” and

that “it may be too early to tell exactly what the effects of laws regulating same-sex

marriage are at this point because the debates over gay marriage and its legal

recognition and bans are in their infancy,” SER 671.

Plaintiffs also point to testimony of various experts—Professors Cott,

Peplau, and Badgett and Mr. Blankenhorn—that purportedly undermines this

interest. Pl. Br. 17-18. But as we have shown, while Professors Cott and Peplau

discussed short-run data from Massachusetts’ still-infant experience with same-sex

marriage, both disclaimed giving it much credence. See Prop. Br. 39-41.

Professor Badgett’s opinions are likewise based on short-run data from some of the

tiny number of “States and countries where [same-sex marriage] has been

permitted.” See Pl. Br 17. But the limited empirical data available from the brief

experience of a handful of jurisdictions that have redefined marriage does not

begin to suffice to eliminate reasonable concerns about the societal impact of

fundamentally redefining marriage.28 And while Mr. Blankenhorn acknowledged

                                                            
28
Plaintiffs point to testimony from Professor Badgett asserting that post-
same-sex marriage statistics from the Netherlands are in line with preexisting
trends, but the evidence in the record shows that several preexisting negative trends
were exacerbated following that Nation’s redefinition of marriage. See Nat’l Org.
Marriage Br. 28-29. This data, from the jurisdiction that has longest recognized
same-sex relationships as marriages, provides little comfort to those who are
concerned about the possible consequences of such a seismic change.
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that heterosexuals have contributed to the weakening of marriage through the

process of deinstitutionalization, he also opined that redefining marriage to include

same-sex couples would “significantly further and in some respects culminate” that

process. SER 282.

Plaintiffs also claim that the finite and limited number of same-sex

marriages that took place in the wake of In re Marriage Cases and remain valid

today have not weakened marriage in California. But there is no reason to expect

that these few marriages performed just two years ago would produce any

meaningful data on the consequences of redefining marriage to include same-sex

couples. Much more salient is the action sparked by the court decision that led to

those marriages—the enactment of Proposition 8, which reaffirmed the State’s

commitment to the traditional understanding of marriage as the union of a man and

a woman.

D. Proposition 8’s rationality is not undermined by its alleged effects


on gays and lesbians and their children.

Throughout their brief, Plaintiffs assert that the traditional definition of

marriage reaffirmed by Proposition 8 stigmatizes and harms gays and lesbians and

deprives them and their children of the benefits of marriage. Indeed, Plaintiffs

recklessly insinuate that the traditional definition of marriage is somehow

responsible for suicides and hate crimes. See Pl. Br. 106-07. Such inflammatory

claims are false, regrettable, and ultimately do not bear on Proposition 8’s
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rationality.29

1. Contrary to Plaintiffs’ bald assertion, we do not agree that

Proposition 8 sends a “discriminatory message” that gay and lesbian individuals

are “inferior” and “not good enough,” nor that the traditional definition of marriage

“does profound and enduring stigmatic harm to gay men and lesbians—and their

families.” Pl. Br. 56. Society defines marriage as an opposite-sex relationship, not

because such couples are virtuous or morally praiseworthy, but because of the

unique potential such relationships have either to harm, or to further, society’s

interests in responsible procreation. That is why the fundamental right to marry

has never been conditioned on an inquiry into the virtues and vices of individuals

seeking to marry. Society cannot stop the immoral or irresponsible from engaging

in potentially procreative sexual relationships and presumes that even such

individuals are more likely to take care of the children that result from their sexual

activity if they are married than if they are not.

Conversely, the fact that same-sex relationships are not recognized as

marriages does not reflect a judgment by the State that individuals in such

relationships are inferior or undeserving, but simply the fact that such relationships

do not implicate society’s interest in responsible procreation in the same way that
                                                            
29
San Francisco also claims that Proposition 8 costs it money. But
California’s Legislative Analyst authoritatively determined that over the long run
Proposition 8 would “likely [have] little fiscal impact on state and local
governments.” ER 1030.
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opposite-sex relationships do. It is simply not stigmatic for the law to treat

different things differently. See, e.g., Johnson, 415 U.S. at 383.

Plaintiffs themselves brought this point into sharp focus below, unwittingly,

with a hypothetical example of a reprobate opposite-sex couple who “can get

married the morning after meeting each other at a night club,” while an upstanding

same-sex couple in an enduring, committed relationship cannot. ER 1796. But

society plainly has a vital interest in encouraging the opposite-sex couple, if and

when they do decide to have sexual relations, to marry and to commit themselves

to take responsibility for raising any children produced by their union, whether

intentionally or unintentionally, into responsible, productive citizens. These vital

societal interests are plainly related to the uniquely procreative capacity of

opposite-sex relationships, and it is plainly rational for the State to maintain a

unique institution to serve these interests. See Prop. Br. 82-85.

2. There is simply no empirical basis for Plaintiffs’ assertion that

California’s decision to adhere to the traditional definition of marriage leads to

hate crimes against gays and lesbians or to suicides or any other type of adverse

mental health outcome for these individuals. To the contrary, Plaintiffs’ expert

Professor Herek admitted at trial that there is no empirical support for the claim

that there is a link between hate crimes against gays and lesbians and the

traditional definition of marriage. ER 302. Indeed, according to authoritative FBI

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statistics, the per capita rate of hate crimes based on sexual orientation is much

lower in California than in Massachusetts, which has recognized same-sex

relationships as marriages since 2004. See ER 1890. Similarly, Plaintiffs’ expert

Professor Meyer admitted that he is unaware of any empirical data suggesting that

gays and lesbians suffer from worse mental health outcomes in California than

they do in Massachusetts, the Netherlands, or any other jurisdiction that recognizes

same-sex relationships as marriages. See ER 249-53.

3. As we have already demonstrated, California protects same-sex

relationships and provides for the children of same-sex couples through the

institution of domestic partnership, and there is no empirical evidence whatsoever

that those children would obtain any incremental benefits above and beyond those

available through domestic partnership if their same-sex parents were married. See

Prop. Br. 85 n.45. While Plaintiffs trumpet Mr. Blankenhorn’s statement that

children raised by same-sex couples might benefit if their parents were permitted

to marry, see Pl. Br. 51, they ignore his further statement that he believes

essentially the same benefits “can be achieved through … domestic partnerships.”

ER 345.30

                                                            
30
Nor is there any merit in Plaintiffs’ claim that, like antimiscegenation
laws, the age-old definition of marriage is “at war” with its traditional purposes.
Pl. Br. 50-51. Not only did the Supreme Court unanimously reject this analogy,
see Baker, 409 U.S. 810, but relationships between men and women of different
races are exactly the same as any other opposite-sex relationships in all respects
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4. In all events, the voters were entitled to weigh any speculative

potential benefits that might result from redefining marriage to include same-sex

relationships against the risk that such a seismic change would weaken that

bedrock institution and the vital interests it has traditionally served. See Prop. Br.

93-104; supra at 66-70. Indeed, “[b]y maintaining the traditional definition of

marriage while simultaneously granting legal recognition and expanded rights to

same-sex relationships, the [State] has struck a careful balance to satisfy the

diverse needs and desires of Californians.” In re Marriage Cases, 143 Cal. App.

4th 873, 935-36 (Cal. Ct. App. 2006), rev’d, 183 P.3d 384 (Cal. 2008). The

Constitution simply does not “authorize the judiciary to sit as a super legislature”

to second guess the wisdom or desirability” of the balance the people of California

have struck. Heller v. Doe, 509 U.S. at 319; see also, e.g., Williamson, 348 U.S. at

487 (“it is for the legislature, not the courts, to balance the advantages and

disadvantages” of economic or social regulation); Glucksberg, 521 U.S. at 722

(unless “a challenged state action implicate[s] a fundamental right,” there is no

need for “complex balancing of competing interests”); Board of Trustees of the

Univ. of Ala., 531 U.S. at 357-58 (so long as its actions are rational, State may

“quite hard headedly—and perhaps hardheartedly” refuse to accommodate


                                                                                                                                                                                                
relevant to the fundamental purposes of marriage. In particular, interracial
opposite-sex relationships, just like any other such relationships, can in general
produce children, often unintentionally, through even casual sexual behavior. The
same is simply not true of same-sex relationships. See Prop. Br. 82-87.
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competing interests). Accordingly, so long as the traditional definition of marriage

is rationally related to a legitimate state interest, Plaintiffs’ contentions regarding

the alleged harms that definition inflicts are relevant only to democratic policy

decisions, and can provide no basis for judicial invalidation of Proposition 8.31

VIII. NOTHING IN CALIFORNIA LAW NOR THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING


ITS ENACTMENT RENDERS PROPOSITION 8 UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

A. The circumstances that led to Proposition 8’s enactment do not


distinguish it from the laws of other states that protect the
traditional definition of marriage.

1. Plaintiffs and San Francisco repeatedly characterize Proposition 8 as

“stripping” gays and lesbians of their preexisting rights. As even the California

Supreme Court recognized, however, “describ[ing] Proposition 8 as ‘eliminating’

or ‘stripping’ same-sex couples of a fundamental constitutional right … drastically

overstates the effect of Proposition 8 on the fundamental state constitutional rights

of same-sex couples.” Strauss, 207 P.3d at 102. Such hyperbole also obscures the

reality that for all but four-and-a-half months of California’s 161-year existence,

marriage has been defined as the union of a man and a woman. The California

Supreme Court’s decision in In re Marriage Cases, which briefly interrupted that

practice, was overturned by the voters at the first possible opportunity. Indeed,

                                                            
31
Although San Francisco claims that Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982),
permits this Court to find Proposition 8 irrational in light of the harms it allegedly
inflicts, the Supreme Court has confined that anomalous decision to its facts. See
Prop. Br. 34 n.12.
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that decision was no more final than the earlier California Court of Appeal decision

upholding the State’s traditional definition of marriage: It was reviewed and

overturned by a higher tribunal—the People themselves.

Further, the United States Constitution is simply not a one-way ratchet that

forever binds a State to laws and policies that go beyond what the Fourteenth

Amendment would otherwise require. Such a regime not only would be

“destructive of a State’s democratic processes and of its ability to experiment,” but

it would affirmatively “discourage[ ] the States from providing greater protection”

to their citizens than the Fourteenth Amendment requires. Crawford v. Board of

Educ., 458 U.S. 527, 535, 539 (1982). “In short, having gone beyond the

requirements of the Federal Constitution, [California] was free to return … to the

standard prevailing generally throughout the United States.” Id. at 542.

2. Plaintiffs’ description of Proposition 8 as “stripping” gays and

lesbians of a preexisting constitutional right is plainly a gambit to align this case

with Romer. But the features of Colorado’s Amendment 2 that led to its

invalidation are simply not present here. Most importantly, Colorado’s law, which

“prohibit[ed] all legislative, executive or judicial action at any level of state or

local government designed to protect” gays and lesbians, simply lacked any

“rational relationship to legitimate state interests,” Romer, 517 U.S. at 624, 632, an

infirmity that does not afflict Proposition 8.

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Furthermore, unlike Amendment 2, Proposition 8 does not impose “a broad

and undifferentiated disability” that inexplicably “denies … protection across the

board,” id. at 632-33, but rather acts with narrow precision, restoring the traditional

definition of marriage while otherwise leaving undisturbed the manifold rights and

protections California law provides gays and lesbians. See Strauss v. Horton, 207

P.3d at 102 (contrasting Proposition 8 and its “limited effect” with a law like

Amendment 2 that “sweepingly … leaves [a minority] group vulnerable to public

or private discrimination in all areas without legal recourse”). And far from being

a “peculiar” or “exceptional” law “unprecedented in our jurisprudence,” Romer,

517 U.S. at 632, 633, Proposition 8 simply restored to California law the definition

of marriage as it has existed not only throughout California’s history, but

throughout the history of the civilized world.32

3. Nor is Proposition 8 part of an “arbitrary and contradictory patchwork

of marriage regulations.” Pl. Br. 58. As an initial matter, of the five categories of

                                                            
32
For similar reasons, Proposition 8 is also nothing like the California
constitutional amendment struck down in Reitman v. Mulkey, 387 U.S. 369 (1967).
That measure was enacted in reaction to laws prohibiting racial discrimination in
housing, but it “struck more deeply and more widely” than “just repeal[ing] an
existing law.” Id. at 377, 380. By broadly establishing a “right to discriminate on
racial grounds … immune from legislative, executive, or judicial regulation at any
level of the state government,” id. at 376, 377, its only conceivable purpose was
impermissibly “authorizing the perpetuation of … private discrimination,” id. at
375. In any event, the issue in Reitman was not whether the challenged law passed
rational-basis review, but whether the State’s facilitation of private racial
discrimination constituted race discrimination by the State. See id. at 378.
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couples Plaintiffs say California marriage law creates, three are present in every

state that maintains the traditional definition of marriage: (1) unmarried opposite-

sex couples, (2) married opposite-sex couples, and (3) unmarried same-sex

couples.

Furthermore, there is nothing “arbitrary and contradictory” about the other

two categories, which consist of same-sex couples legally married before the

passage of Proposition 8 that California recognizes as married. Because the

California Supreme Court refused to stay the effect of In re Marriage Cases until

the people could vote on Proposition 8, see In re Marriage Cases, No. S147999,

2008 Cal. LEXIS 6807, at *1-2 (Cal. June 4, 2008), that court was promptly forced

to decide whether Proposition 8 operated to invalidate the same-sex marriages that

took place between In re Marriage Cases and Proposition 8’s passage. In holding

that Proposition 8 did not apply retroactively, the court acted to protect the vested

rights of same-sex couples who had married in reliance on its earlier decision. See

Strauss, 207 P.3d at 122. So-called “grandfather clauses” that preserve rights that

were vested before a change in the law are common and constitutionally

unremarkable. Even where heightened scrutiny applies, the Constitution “does not

require that a regulatory regime singlemindedly pursue one objective to the

exclusion of all others,” Coyote Publishing, Inc. v. Miller, 598 F.3d 592, 610 (9th

Cir. 2010), and the fact that California has struck a “balance” between the interests

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served by the traditional definition of marriage and other “important but competing

state interests” does not render its interest in preserving the traditional definition of

marriage “any less substantial” than if it had struck a different balance, id. at 606.

The California Legislature has now purported to extend this rationale to the

finite and limited pool of same-sex couples who were legally married outside of

California before Proposition 8 was adopted and who subsequently move to

California. See CAL. FAM. CODE § 308(b). To the extent this statute can be

squared with Proposition 8, see Strauss, 207 P.3d at 122 n.48 (declining to reach

the question), it would be for similar reasons as preserving the pre-Proposition 8

California same-sex marriages. To the extent it cannot be squared with Proposition

8, the statute was simply beyond the power of California’s Legislature to enact.

Either way, it can provide no basis for invalidating Proposition 8.

4. These features of California marriage law ultimately have their roots

in the In re Marriage Cases decision. That short-lived decision simply cannot be

taken to place the traditional definition of marriage in California on shakier

constitutional footing than in states that have never recognized same-sex

relationships as marriages, for “the Fourteenth Amendment [does not] require the

people of a State to adhere to a judicial construction of their State Constitution

when that Constitution itself vests final authority in the people.” Crawford, 458

U.S. at 540. If it was rational for California to adhere to the traditional definition

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of marriage for the first 159 years of its existence, it was equally rational for

California to restore that definition after a 143-day hiatus by enacting Proposition

8.

B. Proposition 8 is not irrational in light of other California laws.

California, like other States, has vital interests in encouraging men and

women in potentially procreative relationships to form stable and lasting bonds for

the purpose of bearing and raising any offspring that may result from their union.

And many Californians, like others, have legitimate concerns about the

consequences of abandoning the age-old definition of marriage in favor of a new

and all-but-untested one that decisively severs the institution’s inherent connection

to responsible procreation and childrearing. These interests, rooted in indisputable

biological and historical fact, are not undermined by any other provision of

California law.

1. Certainly these interests are not undermined by California’s decision

to provide same-sex couples with essentially the same rights and responsibilities of

marriage through domestic partnerships, see CAL. FAM. CODE § 297.5, while

preserving the denomination of marriage, and the encouragement and support it

provides, to those relationships—committed opposite-sex couples—most likely to

further the interests marriage has traditionally served. Although Plaintiffs claim

that domestic partnerships “stigmatize” gays and lesbians by branding their

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relationships “with a mark of inferiority,” Pl. Br. 53-54, it is simply not stigmatic

to treat different things differently. See supra at 70-73. Further, Plaintiffs’ claim

is belied by the fact that California’s domestic partnership legislation was

authored, sponsored, supported, and hailed by leading advocates of gay and lesbian

rights.33 And when an alternative status such as domestic partnerships is in place,

many gays and lesbians choose that alternative even when marriage is also

available. See, e.g., ER 1880 (many Californians entered domestic partnerships

during months in 2008 when same-sex relationships could be recognized as

marriages); ER 1879 (almost 30% of same-sex couples in the Netherlands enter

registered partnerships rather than have their relationships recognized as

marriages). Indeed, research by Plaintiffs’ expert Professor Herek shows that more

self-identified gays, lesbians, and bisexuals support civil unions or domestic

partnerships than support redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships.

ER1166 (finding that 89.1% support civil unions, while 77.9% support redefining

marriage). Some gay and lesbian rights advocates prefer an alternative institution

over redefining marriage in light of the biological, historical, and cultural

                                                            
33
The California legislation that extended the rights and benefits of marriage
to domestic partners was authored by members of California’s Gay and Lesbian
Legislative Caucus and sponsored by Equality California. See ER 1875. Upon its
enactment, Equality California’s Executive Director stated that “[w]e are
overjoyed by the historic passage of this critical civil-rights bill for same-sex
couples and their families,” and he thanked “each of the legislators who stood up
for civil rights by voting for this bill.” ER1876.
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differences between heterosexual and homosexual relationships. See, e.g., ER

1859 (“Larger gains with respect to dignity very likely might be had with the

development of a body of family law which is for and by gay and lesbian people.

A version of civil unions or domestic partnership may very likely be the way to go

then.”). And, as Professor Badgett has acknowledged, some gay rights advocates

fear that redefining marriage to include same-sex couples could “marginalize and

stigmatize some families” by “creating a hierarchy of relationships within the

GLBT community.” ER 1920.

For all these reasons, California’s maintenance of domestic partnerships for

same-sex couples bears no resemblance to the “separate-and-inherently-unequal”

system of racially segregated education struck down in Brown v. Board of

Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954). Pl. Br. 53-54. As even Attorney General Brown

argued: “Such hyperbole ignores inconvenient historical facts. Domestic

partnerships and civil unions, unlike Jim Crow laws, were not conceived by a

majority group for the purpose of oppressing a minority group. Rather, they were

sponsored by gay and lesbian rights groups.” Answer Brief of Attorney General

and State of California, In re Marriage Cases at 46 (Cal. June 14, 2007) (ER

1789). Nor did Jim Crow laws, unlike the traditional definition of marriage,

advance interests wholly independent from invidious discrimination.

In sum, California has gone far beyond any legal requirement, and far

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beyond the practice of almost every other state, in affording gays and lesbians legal

protections, including virtually all the rights, benefits, and privileges of marriage.

It is simply specious to argue that by doing so the State has put the traditional

definition of marriage on weaker constitutional footing than in those states that

have done nothing to recognize same-sex relationships.

2. Plaintiffs and San Francisco maintain that by enacting other laws

regulating parenting and childrearing, California has disclaimed the procreative

interests traditionally served by marriage. Those interests, however, reflect

biological and historical realities that simply cannot be erased by judicial or

legislative fiat. Furthermore, Plaintiffs and San Francisco ignore the most

pertinent statement of policy related to these issues in California law—Proposition

8 itself. Indeed, the people of California could not have more forcefully

underscored the “state’s current interest … in preserving the traditional definition

of marriage” than “by having [it] enshrined in the state Constitution.” Strauss, 207

P.3d at 122. Proposition 8 thus indisputably confirms California’s abiding interest

in the traditional institution of marriage and the purposes it has universally served.

What is more, California law plainly recognizes irresponsible procreation and

fatherlessness as pressing social problems. See Prop. Br. 80 n.41. Against this

backdrop, it is untenable to claim that California has somehow rejected the

interests served by the traditional definition of marriage.

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Indeed, Plaintiffs’ and San Francisco’s conception of what it would take for

California rationally to maintain the traditional opposite-sex definition of marriage

surely could not be met by any family law system that has ever existed. They

apparently would require, among other things, that California: forbid “the old

[and] the infertile” from marrying, Pl. Br. 89; limit marriage to couples with an

“intent” to have children, SF Br. 11; reserve “parental status” to married couples,

SF Br. 11; and completely prohibit “gay men and lesbians [from] rais[ing]

children,” Pl. Br. 80. It is absurd to suggest that the Constitution would look more

favorably on such a draconian and implausible regime.

In the final analysis, Plaintiffs and San Francisco would permit this Court to

credit the traditional procreative purposes of marriage only if California single-

mindedly pursued them in all areas of her law, while at the same time failing to

make any provision whatsoever to accommodate the interests implicated by the

practical realities that gays and lesbians form relationships, that some gays and

lesbians raise children, that some children will be born outside of marriage, and

that some marriages end due to death or divorce or otherwise do not suffice to care

for children. This is plainly not the law, see Coyote, 598 F.3d at 610, and such

rigidity is particularly inappropriate when the Court is employing the “paradigm of

judicial restraint” applicable here. FCC v. Beach Commc’ns, 508 U.S. at 314.

Simply put, neither the fact that California could do more to promote responsible

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procreation and childrearing through the institution of marriage nor the fact that

California has enacted other laws to help ensure the welfare of all of its children in

anyway suggests that the institution of marriage in California no longer plays a

meaningful role in furthering the compelling interests it has always served.

C. The campaign to pass Proposition 8 does not undermine its


constitutionality.

1. Plaintiffs argue that (i) the district court was correct in “finding” that

the motivation of seven million voters in supporting Proposition 8 was animus

towards gays and lesbians, and (ii) that snippets from a handful of public messages

among the cacophony of voices debating Proposition 8 constituted a proper and

sufficient basis from which to deduce this motive. To build their case, Plaintiffs

first quote McCreary County v. ACLU of Kentucky, 545 U.S. 844, 862 (2005), for

the proposition that to discern the purpose of an enactment courts engage in an

objective inquiry that can take account of “the traditional external signs that show

up in the ‘text, legislative history, and implementation of the statute.’ ” Of course,

the snippets of advertisements cited by the district court are none of these things,

so Plaintiffs leap beyond McCreary to argue that these snippets are part of the

“ ‘historical context’ ” from which a court may discover collective intent. Pl. Br.

99. Remarkably, Plaintiffs cite Southern Alameda Spanish Speaking Organization

v. Union City, 424 F.2d 291, 295 (9th Cir. 1970) (“SASSO”), for this proposition.

SASSO, however, expressly rejected the notion that “the question of motivation for
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[a] referendum (apart from a consideration of its effect) is an appropriate one for

judicial inquiry.” Id at 295.

When considering constitutional challenges to referenda, the Supreme Court

has likewise never relied on the subjective motivations of referenda sponsors or

voters. Instead, the Court looks to text and effects. See Hunter v. Erickson, 393

U.S. 385 (1969); James v. Valtierra, 402 U.S. 137 (1971); Crawford v. Board of

Educ., 458 U.S. at 543-45 (characterizing “claim of discriminatory intent on the

part of millions of voters as but ‘pure speculation’ ” and refusing to “impugn the

motives of the State’s electorate”); Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620 (1996). As the

Sixth Circuit has correctly recognized, the Supreme Court’s referendum cases thus

make clear that a reviewing court “may not even inquire into the electorate’s

possible actual motivations for adopting a measure via initiative or referendum.”

Equality Found. of Greater Cincinnati v. Cincinnati, 128 F.3d at 293 n.4; see also

Arthur v. Toledo, 782 F.2d 565, 573-74 (6th Cir. 1986).

Washington v. Seattle Sch. Dist. No. 1, 458 U.S. 457 (1982), is not to the

contrary. There the Court examined the text of the statute and its effect and—as in

every other referendum case finding an unconstitutional purpose—ascribed a

discriminatory purpose to the electorate only by concluding that the effects of the

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law precluded any other purpose. 458 U.S. at 471.34

2. Like the district court, Plaintiffs, San Francisco, and their amici

selectively quote from a mere handful of the cacophony of messages that were

before the voters in the hard fought Proposition 8 campaign in a vain attempt to

paint the initiative as driven by animus and bigotry. When understood in context,

however, even these cherry-picked messages for the most part reflect valid reasons

for supporting the traditional definition of marriage.

Like the district court, Plaintiffs and San Francisco highlight statements

expressing the view that marriage protects children and parental concerns about

what their young children will be taught about marriage. But as we have already

explained, neither message is in any way sinister or improper. See Prop. Br. 108-

09.35

                                                            
34
In confirming this conclusion, the Court did state that “[n]either the
initiative’s sponsors, nor the District Court, nor the Court of Appeals had any
difficulty perceiving the racial nature” of the challenged initiative. Id.
Significantly, however, the Court of Appeals (this Court) “f[ound] it unnecessary”
to address whether the law “was motivated by a discriminatory purpose,” Seattle
School Dist. No. 1 v. Washington, 633 F.2d 1338, 1342 (9th Cir. 1980), and thus
cannot be said to have looked to any evidence of such purpose. 
35
Plaintiffs claim that the education-based argument was “highly
misleading.” Pl. Br. 101 n.26. But they cannot deny that: (1) California law
requires school districts that provide comprehensive sexual health education to
“teach respect for marriage,” CAL. EDUC. CODE § 51933(b)(7); (2) following
Massachusetts’ redefinition of marriage second graders in that State were read a
book celebrating same-sex marriage without prior parental notification, see Parker
v. Hurley, 514 F.3d 87 (1st Cir. 2008); and (3) while same-sex marriage was legal
in California, a class of first grade public school students was taken on a field trip
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Other statements trumpeted by Plaintiffs and San Francisco reflect other

legitimate concerns. San Francisco, for example, makes much of a snippet from an

official campaign document stating that a vote against Proposition 8 would destroy

“the sanctity of marriage.” See SF Br. 22 (quoting ER 1036). Read in context,

however, the statement was simply part of an argument that redefining marriage

would deinstitutionalize marriage:

If Proposition 8 is defeated, the sanctity of marriage will


be destroyed and its powerful influence on the betterment
of society will be lost. The defeat of Prop. 8 would result
in the very meaning of marriage being transformed into
nothing more than a contractual relationship between
adults. No longer will the interests of children and
families even be a consideration. We will no longer
celebrate marriage as a union of husband and wife, but
rather a relationship between ‘Party A’ and ‘Party B.’

ER 1036.36

Though often inartfully or unpersuasively expressed, most of the other

highlighted messages likewise reflect legitimate views about the potential

widespread impact of redefining marriage, the importance of both a mother and a


                                                                                                                                                                                                
to San Francisco’s City Hall to celebrate their teacher’s same-sex wedding, see ER
2005. These facts are surely sufficient to give a reasonable parent grounds for
concern about how same-sex marriage might be taught to young children.
36
A similar example is the simulcast statement of a Princeton University
lecturer cited by both Plaintiffs and San Francisco. See Pl. Br. 100 & SF Br. 21
(citing SER 552-53). The statement was part of a broader discussion explaining
that a primary purpose of marriage is to bind mothers and fathers to their children.
And the problem with affirming same-sex marriage, that discussion makes clear, is
that legally redefining marriage to do so sends a message that “kids are not entitled
to a … relationship with their genetic parents.” SER 552.
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father to a child’s development, and the potential for redefining marriage to include

same-sex couples to start society down an undesirable slippery slope.37

3. We do not deny that some extreme statements reflecting bigotry were

made on both sides of the hard-fought Proposition 8 debate, as is perhaps

inevitable whenever divisive issues implicate individuals’ most deeply held values

and beliefs. See, e.g., ER 2007 (anti-Proposition 8 advertisement reflecting anti-

Mormon bigotry). But while “negative attitudes” may often accompany

unconstitutional laws, “their presence alone does not a constitutional violation

make.” Board of Trustees v. Garrett, 531 U.S. at 367. Indeed, so long as a law is

rationally related to a legitimate state interest, such attitudes are not

constitutionally fatal. See id.; see also Michael M. v. Superior Court, 450 U.S. at

472 n.7 (plurality).

In particular, though Plaintiffs place great emphasis on certain bigoted and

uninformed statements made by Dr. Hak-Shing William Tam, there is no more

basis to impute such homophobic views to the more than seven million

                                                            
37
In addition, many of the materials cited were not part of the official
ProtectMarriage.com Yes on 8 campaign, and some may have never been made
public at all. One of the items Plaintiffs cite, for example, is a document—plainly
a draft—attached to an email sent to ProtectMarriage.com chairman Ron Prentice
from an individual affiliated with a different organization. See SER 615-27; Pl. Br.
103 (citing SER 622). In a declaration filed with the district court, Mr. Prentice
explained that “neither I nor ProtectMarriage.com is aware of what version, if any,
of this document [was] ultimately published, and neither I nor Protect Marriage
ever provided any edits or response to this email.” ER1774.  
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Californians who supported Proposition 8 than there would be to impute the anti-

religious bigotry of a small number of Proposition 8 opponents to the millions of

Californians who voted against Proposition 8. Certainly, nothing in the evidence

suggests that extremist views were held by more than a small sliver of the

electorate on either side of the Proposition 8 debate.

Indeed, the evidence affirmatively undercuts the notion that Dr. Tam’s views

could have influenced the election in any meaningful way. According to his

uncontroverted testimony, he had no involvement in formulating the official

ProtectMarriage.com campaign’s strategy or messaging, ER 1715, and he did not

share his discriminatory viewpoints on homosexuality with anyone from

ProtectMarriage.com at any time during the campaign, ER 1714. Dr. Tam’s

negligible influence on the campaign is well illustrated by the very “campaign

material” Plaintiffs cite—a letter containing offensive, inflammatory rhetoric that

they claim Dr. Tam “posted … on his website.” Pl. Br. 101-02 (citing SER 349).

In reality, Dr. Tam testified that he sent the letter to approximately 100 people and

that he did not even know that a recipient had posted it on the internet. See ER

1712-13. Furthermore, the letter appears not to have been posted until after the

campaign was over. See SER 349 (showing “last updated” date of September 4,

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2009).38 Even farther afield are the personal views Dr. Tam expressed during his

trial testimony, which could not possibly have affected the Proposition 8 campaign.

See Pl. Br. 100.

***

In the end, it appears that Plaintiffs themselves are unconvinced by their

claim that Proposition 8 was motivated by a “desire to relegate gay men and

lesbians to second class status,” or even that voter motivation is relevant: Like

their witnesses, see Prop. Br. 107 n.56, Plaintiffs concede that “[t]here are many

reasons why someone might be opposed to marriage between individuals of the

same sex,” but they argue that Proposition 8 is nonetheless unconstitutional

“whatever the reason that voters supported” it because it “embodies an irrational

and discriminatory classification that denies gay men and lesbians the fundamental

right to marry enjoyed by all other citizens.” Pl. Br. 104-05. Plaintiffs, in other

words, apparently recognize that Proposition 8’s constitutionality turns not on

voter motivation but rather on whether or not it is rationally related to a legitimate

state interest. If that is Plaintiffs’ position, they are right—and because Proposition

8 advances legitimate, indeed compelling, state interests, this Court is bound to


                                                            
38
Plaintiffs and San Francisco also cite other documents apparently posted
on Dr. Tam’s personal website. That website, however, consists largely of articles
written in Chinese and had been visited only about 1600 times as of 2010. See ER
1983-84, 1989-90; ER 2003. It could not have played any meaningful role
whatsoever in shaping the views of the more than seven million individuals who
voted for Proposition 8.  
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uphold it. For as the Supreme Court has explained, regardless of what “reasoning

in fact underlay the legislative decision,” so long as “there are plausible reasons”

supporting the legislation, judicial “inquiry is at an end.” Railroad Retirement Bd.

v. Fritz, 449 U.S. 166, 179 (1980).

CONCLUSION

For these reasons, the district court’s ruling should be reversed.

November 1, 2010 Respectfully submitted,


s/ Charles J. Cooper
Andrew P. Pugno Charles J. Cooper
LAW OFFICES OF ANDREW P. PUGNO David H. Thompson
101 Parkshore Drive, Suite 100 Howard C. Nielson, Jr.
Folsom, California 95630 Peter A. Patterson
(916) 608-3065; (916) 608-3066 Fax COOPER AND KIRK, PLLC
1523 New Hampshire Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036
Brian W. Raum (202)220-9600; (202) 220-9601 Fax
James A. Campbell
ALLIANCE DEFENSE FUND
15100 North 90th Street
Scottsdale, Arizona 85260
(480) 444-0020; (480) 444-0028 Fax
Attorneys for Defendant-Intervenors-Appellants Hollingsworth, Knight,
Gutierrez, Jansson, and ProtectMarriage.com

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EXHIBIT A
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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT


CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

CIVIL MINUTES - GENERAL

Case No. SACV 09-0286 DOC (MLGx) Date: July 15, 2009

Title: SMELT ET AL. V. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ET AL.

DOCKET ENTRY
[I hereby certify that this document was served by first class mail or Government messenger service, postage prepaid, to all counsel (or parties) at their
respective most recent address of record in this action on this date.]
Date:____________ Deputy Clerk: ___________________________________

PRESENT:
THE HONORABLE DAVID O. CARTER, JUDGE

Kristee Hopkins Not Present


Courtroom Clerk Court Reporter

ATTORNEYS PRESENT FOR PLAINTIFFS: ATTORNEYS PRESENT FOR DEFENDANTS:

NONE PRESENT NONE PRESENT

PROCEEDING (IN CHAMBERS): GRANTING MOTION TO DISMISS

Before the Court is Defendant State of California’s (“California”) Motion to Dismiss (the
Motion”). After reviewing the moving papers, hearing oral argument, and for the reasons set forth
below, the Court hereby GRANTS the Motion.

I. BACKGROUND

On December 29, 2008, Plaintiffs Arthur Bruno Smelt and Christopher David Hammer
(“Plaintiffs”) filed the instant case in California Superior Court. The case was removed to this Court on
March 9, 2009. The Plaintiffs in this case are a same-sex couple who received a Declaration of
Domestic Partnership from the State of California on January 10, 2000 and were subsequently married
under the laws of California, “on or subsequent to July 10, 2008" – i.e., before Proposition 8 was passed
in California’s November 4, 2008 election. Plaintiffs allege that “the refusal of all states and
jurisdictions” to recognize the validity of their marriage results in the denial to them of numerous rights,
benefits and responsibilities bestowed on all other married couples, so long as they are opposite-sex
couples. Plaintiffs state that the rights, benefits and responsibilities that they are denied include the

MINUTES FORM 11 DOC Initials of Deputy Clerk _kh_


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right to social security survivor benefits, decision-making authority for funeral arrangements and the
disposition of a spouse’s body, the right to bereavement leave in the even to of a spouse’s death, the
presumption that both spouses are the parent of a child born during marriage, and the right to a certain
division of their spouse’s separate property and the couple’s marital property upon the death of a spouse
who dies intestate. Plaintiffs further argue that the denial of such rights, benefits and responsibilities
has caused them to suffer severe emotional distress, mental anguish, humiliation, loss of liberty and the
pursuit of happiness, denial of equal protection of laws, denial of freedom of association, denial of
privacy rights, and denial of the right to travel to establish residency anywhere in the United States with
the full recognition of the legality of Plaintiffs’ marriage.

Plaintiffs target their action at the federal Defense of Marriage Act, 1 U.S.C. §7; 28
U.S.C. §1738C (the “DOMA”), as well as “Proposition 8". Proposition 8 was a provision on the
California state ballot in the November 4, 2008 election that amended the California Constitution to
define marriage as between a man and a woman only. Plaintiffs assert that this amendment violates
several portions of the U.S. Constitution.

Plaintiffs seek broad relief. Plaintiffs seek a permanent injunction compelling the United
States and the State of California (“Defendants”) to “take all necessary acts to require the entire nation
of the United States of America, all of its territories and jurisdictions, to eliminate any distinction in the
law that prejudices the rights of Plaintiffs.” Additionally, Plaintiffs seek a declaratory judgment
“establishing that any law that restricts Plaintiffs’ rights of distinguishes Plaintiffs’ rights in any way
from any opposite gender couple to be unconstitutional, under the United States Constitution, including
all provisions of the [DOMA].”

In the instant Motion, California moves to dismiss the claims against it, which pertain
only to Proposition 8, arguing that Plaintiffs lack standing to pursue said claims.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

A. Standing

Each element of standing is "an indispensable part of the plaintiff's case," and accordingly
"must be supported in the same way as any other matter on which the plaintiff bears the burden, i.e.,
with the manner and degree of evidence required at the successive stages of the litigation." Lujan v.
Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 561, 112 S. Ct. 2130 (1992). To establish standing, a plaintiff
must demonstrate: (1) an ‘injury in fact’ – an invasion of a legally protected interest which is (a)
concrete and particularized, and (b) ‘actual or imminent, not ‘conjectural’ or ‘hypothetical’”; (2) “there
must be a causal connection between the injury and the conduct complained of – the injury has to be
‘fairly ... trace[able] to the challenged action of the defendant, and not ... th[e] result [of] the
independent action of some third party not before the court;” and (3) “it must be ‘likely,’ as opposed to
merely ‘speculative,’ that the injury will be ‘redressed by a favorable decision.’” Id. at 2136 (internal

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citations omitted). See also Bird v. Lewis & Clark College, 303 F.3d 1015, 1019 (9th Cir. 2002)
(internal quotation marks and citations omitted)("In the context of declaratory and injunctive relief, [a
plaintiff] must demonstrate that [he or she] has suffered or is threatened with a concrete and
particularized legal harm . . . coupled with a sufficient likelihood that [he or she] will again be wronged
in a similar way.").

III. DISCUSSION

This is the second time that Plaintiffs have come before this Court, presenting
substantially similar arguments each time. In Smelt, et al. v. County of Orange, California, et al.,
SACV04-1042 DOC (MLGx), Plaintiffs filed suit before Judge Gary L. Taylor, arguing that they had
applied for, and been denied, a marriage license by the County Clerk of Orange County, California, in
violation of the U.S. Constitution. More specifically, Plaintiffs argued that Section 2 of the DOMA
violates the United States Constitution’s Due Process, equal protection rights under the Fifth
Amendment, the Right to Privacy and the Full Faith and Credit Clause. Additionally, they argued that
Section 3 of the DOMA violates the “liberty interests protected by the Due Process Clause”;
discriminates “on the basis of gender” and “sexual orientation” in violation of equal protection; and
violates “the privacy interest protected by the Right to Privacy.” Plaintiffs also argued that the
California Family Code violated the U.S. Constitution. Plaintiffs sought a declaratory judgment that
the relevant sections of the California Family Code and the DOMA were unconstitutional as well as
injunctive relief “[m]andating the use of gender-neutral terms and issuing a marriage license to [them].”

Judge Taylor (1) abstained from deciding the constitutionality of the challenged sections
of the California Family Code until the resolution of cases then-pending before the California Court of
appeal concerning whether the portions of the California Family Code that limit marriage to opposite-
sex couples violated the California Constitution, (2) held that Plaintiffs had no standing to challenge
Section 2 of the DOMA, and (3) held that Plaintiffs had no standing to challenge Section 3 of the
DOMA but that that section did not violate the U.S. Constitution. In Smelt v. County of Orange, 374
F.Supp.2d 861, 685 (C.D. Cal. 2005), the Ninth Circuit reviewed Judge Taylor’s ruling in SACV04-
1042 DOC (MLGx), upholding his decision to abstain as to Plaintiffs’ challenge to the California
Family Code, upholding his decision that Plaintiffs did not have standing to challenge either Section 3
or Section 2 of the DOMA as Plaintiffs were not married (and as they presented abstract and
generalized grievances), and vacating his decision regarding the merits of the DOMA Section 3 claim
as, given the “abstract facial attack made,” no one could “know whether in the context of some
particular statute as applied to some particular person in some particular situation Congress’s use of the
word ‘marriage’ [would] amount to an unconstitutional classification.”

On remand, the case was transferred to this Court. On August 29, 2008, this Court
dismissed the case, as directed by the Ninth Circuit. The Plaintiffs filed the instant lawsuit on
November 3, 2008, this time including the fact that, after the filing of the initial lawsuit, they had been
married under California law.

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Once again, the instant Motion turns not on the merits of the dispute, but on standing.
California correctly asserts that Plaintiffs no longer have standing to pursue their claims against the
State of California, as they relate to the enforcement of Proposition 8. Proposition 8, as codified in
Section 7.5 to Article I of the California Constitution, was recently held by the California Supreme
Court to present no bar to the recognition of Plaintiffs’ marriage within California, as said marriage was
performed before Proposition 8 was passed. Strauss v. Horton, 46 Cal.4th 364 (Cal. 2009). As
Plaintiffs’ marriage is valid within California, they cannot present an injury with respect to the
recognition of their marriage by the State of California under Lujan and, therefore, they do not have
standing to pursue their claims against the State of California. 504 U.S. 555.

IV. OUTCOME

For the foregoing reasons, the Motion is GRANTED and the State of California is
HEREBY DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.

The Clerk shall serve this minute order on all parties to the action.

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EXHIBIT B
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Loren Dean Marks October 30, 2009
Washington, DC
Page 1

1 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

2 NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

3 KRISTIN M. PERRY, et al., )

4 Plaintiffs, )

5 v. ) No. 09-CV-2292 VRW

6 ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, in )

7 his official capacity as )

8 Governor of California, )

9 et al., )

10 Defendants. )

11

12 Washington, D.C.

13 Friday, October 30, 2009

14 Deposition of LOREN DEAN MARKS, called for

15 examination by counsel for Plaintiffs in the

16 above-entitled matter, the witness being duly sworn

17 by CHERYL A. LORD, a Notary Public in and for the

18 District of Columbia, taken at the offices of COOPER

19 & KIRK PLLC, 1523 New Hampshire Avenue N.W.,

20 Washington, D.C., at 9:31 a.m., and the proceedings

21 being taken down by Stenotype by CHERYL A. LORD, RPR,

22 CRR.

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1 headings in various studies, it's -- it's rarely 1 criminality and incarceration.
2 explicitly mentioned. 2 In paragraph -- where is it? -- oh,
3 Q. Is Johnson's study one that you would 3 I'm -- yes, paragraph 16, you state that: In another
4 characterize as gold standard social science? 4 examination of criminality and delinquency, Rickel
5 A. I think it's a fine study, yes. 5 and Langer found that children who were residing with
6 Q. Can you turn to page 12, please. 6 their biological fathers were the least involved in
7 A. M-hm. 7 delinquent behavior, while children with stepfathers
8 Q. Page 12, the first bullet point numbered 8 fared worse. Single-parented children fell in
9 1, I'll read it and you can read along: 10 family 9 between.
10 types are defined as follows in order of decreasing 10 And for that proposition, you cite Rickel
11 frequency. 1, mother, father. The respondent 11 and Langer's 1985 study, and you see also to David
12 reported the presence in the household of a mother 12 Popenoe's book.
13 and a father, open paren, biological or adoptive, 13 Are you sure as you sit here right now
14 close paren. The respondent did not report in the 14 that you used the term that Rickel and Langer --
15 presence -- the presence in the household of any of 15 excuse me -- used the term biological fathers as you
16 the other 7 relations, that is, the respondent did 16 used the term biological fathers in your report?
17 not report living with a stepmother, a stepfather, an 17 A. No, not positive.
18 other relative, a nonrelative, or a spouse. 18 Q. Do you know if Rickel and Langer used the
19 Do you take that to mean that -- to mean 19 term biological fathers at all?
20 as I do that Johnson defined a mother or a father as 20 A. One of hundreds of studies, Mr. McGill.
21 a biological or an adoptive mother or father? 21 Q. So is the answer, you don't know if Rickel
22 A. Yes. 22 and Langer used biological fathers?

Page 147 Page 149


1 Q. Do you read that as I do that Johnson does 1 A. I don't recall.
2 not distinguish between biological and adoptive 2 Q. Have you read the Rickel and Langer study?
3 parents? 3 A. I've read just portions of it, as I
4 A. He doesn't there. 4 mentioned earlier.
5 Q. Do you believe that Wilcox -- Wilcox's 5 Q. Can you tell me what methodology Rickel
6 statement turning back to page 25 -- you need not 6 and Langer used to reach their conclusions?
7 turn to it because it's quoted in paragraph 15 of 7 A. No.
8 your report. 8 Q. Can you tell me when Rickel and Langer
9 Do you believe that Wilcox's statement 9 gathered the data for their study?
10 that teens living with both biological parents are 10 A. No.
11 significantly less likely to use illicit drugs, 11 It was published in '85, how -- how far
12 alcohol, tobacco -- do you believe that's accurately 12 before that, I don't know.
13 supported by the Johnson study? 13 Q. If I told you the data was gathered in the
14 A. Taking a close look at these -- at these 14 late 1960s, would you assume that was correct?
15 definitions as been presented, I would withdraw 15 A. I couldn't refute it.
16 that. 16 MR. McGILL: Mark this as exhibit 6,
17 Q. Would you also withdraw your emphasis on 17 please.
18 both biological parents? 18 (Marks Exhibit No. 6
19 A. Certainly so. 19 was marked for
20 Q. Would you delete the word biological? 20 identification.)
21 A. I would. 21 BY MR. McGILL:
22 Q. I want to move now to your discussion of 22 Q. I want to direct you first to page 601

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1 focuses specifically on those families is nascent and 1 least use an idea or 2.
2 new. 2 Lansford -- I think Brown at some -- some
3 There's hundreds of studies as I mentioned 3 level has given some similar ideas, but again, we're
4 early on, each of which may have their own little 4 talking about hundreds of studies, Mr. McGill, to
5 twist or wrinkle. In social science, we call it an 5 pull one out and specifically looking at an
6 operational definition. 6 adoption -- Lansford may have, 2001.
7 Those -- those differ from study to study. 7 Q. Based on your work as a social scientist
8 And if I were to tease out every one of those 8 and your experience in the social sciences for -- as
9 definitions in a 12-page report, we wouldn't -- we 9 a professor for 8 years, in the absence of a study
10 would never get to the report. There are some -- 10 that compared biological parents to nonbiological
11 some admittedly broad-brush strokes and assumptions 11 parents, is it possible to draw an inference that
12 that are made. As a writer I had to make some of 12 biological parents are superior at generating
13 those. 13 beneficial child outcomes than nonbiological
14 And leave it at that. 14 parents?
15 Q. And one of the assumptions you made was 15 A. And we're talking about intact forms --
16 that where a study labeled a family intact or as 16 Q. Intact.
17 having biological parents, you assumed, did you not, 17 A. -- with everything except biology and
18 that the parents had a genetic connection to the 18 place.
19 child? 19 MR. THOMPSON: Just so the record is
20 A. I did -- 20 clear, is marriage in place in in this question?
21 Q. So you -- 21 BY MR. McGILL:
22 A. -- because -- 22 Q. My question was, in the absence of any
Page 167 Page 169
1 Q. Please continue. 1 study that compares biological parents to
2 A. -- because the researchers in -- in, you 2 nonbiological parents, is it possible to draw an
3 know, Susan Brown's case and Johnson, they elected to 3 inference that biological parents are superior to
4 include adoptive families in with their definition of 4 nonbiological parents?
5 intact. 5 A. In terms of the research that exists, I
6 Q. If you were designing a study that sought 6 think we've established that -- that question is
7 to demonstrate the importance of biological parenting 7 tough to address, which is I assume why you asked for
8 as opposed to nonbiological parenting, how would you 8 an inference. I think it's a risky -- risky
9 do it? 9 inference.
10 A. I think the way I would probably go about 10 That's -- that's why we have empirical
11 it would be to do a comparison between the intact 11 research.
12 family as we've discussed to do it with a 12 Q. Is there any study that you've discussed
13 marriage-based adoptive family and also probably to 13 in your report or cited in your list of references
14 include a third party of step- -- stepfamily, but I 14 that tends to demonstrate that biological parents are
15 would be very careful to control for income given 15 superior to nonbiological parents at creating
16 some of the assumptions that I made earlier about 16 beneficial child outcomes?
17 adoptive families having more economic resources. 17 A. With -- with the marriage-based adoptive
18 Q. Of any of the studies that you have 18 families as the wild card that sometimes are not
19 reviewed in connection with your work as an expert, 19 included, sometimes as we have seen Johnson '96 are
20 are you aware of any study that does as you just 20 included under the intact heading, there are studies
21 suggested right there? 21 that -- that indicate once again that there is a
22 A. There -- I think there are studies that at 22 potent outcome difference when you combine biology

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1 and marriage. 1 cite dealt with adolescent development or things of
2 We -- we talked earlier about teasing that 2 that nature as opposed to others.
3 out. Causation, no. Correlation, yes. 3 Q. The -- this is not a study of original
4 Q. What -- what study are you referring to 4 research, is it?
5 when you said, powerful evidence of biological 5 A. Child Trends is a nonpartisan group that
6 parenting combined with marriage? 6 looks at issues that are -- they're viewed to have
7 A. There I'm talking about Child Trends 2002, 7 profound policy implications. They -- they sometimes
8 Kristin Moore, et al., McLanahan and Sandefur, 1994, 8 do conduct primary research.
9 Amato, 2005. 9 I believe that this particular report is a
10 Neither of those -- well, I'll just stop 10 brief -- or they're relying heavily on studies,
11 there. 11 especially gold standard studies of others.
12 Q. Can you please turn to paragraph 34 of 12 Q. And --
13 your report, which is marked as exhibit 2. 13 MR. McGILL: Will you mark that as exhibit
14 This is where you discuss the Moore Child 14 number 8, please.
15 Trends report. 15 (Marks Exhibit No. 8
16 Correct? 16 was marked for
17 A. Correct. 17 identification.)
18 Q. And that report states: It is not simply 18 BY MR. McGILL:
19 the presence of 2 parents as some have assumed but 19 Q. I would direct you to the last paragraph
20 the presence of 2 biological parents that seems to 20 in the right-hand column, which is the portion that
21 support children's development. 21 you quoted.
22 Is this one of the studies that you say is 22 It states: Children growing up with

Page 171 Page 173


1 powerful evidence of the importance of biological 1 stepparents also have lower levels of well-being than
2 parenting? 2 children growing up with biological parents.
3 A. I don't know that I used the word 3 It drops a footnote at that point.
4 powerful. 4 Thus it is not simply the presence of 2
5 I've repeatedly stated that it's not just 5 parents as some have assumed but the presence of 2
6 biology, but biology in connection with marriage, 6 biological parents that seem to support the
7 that combination. 7 children's development.
8 Q. And Moore and her Child Trends report is 8 In your experience as a social scientist,
9 one of the studies you cite for that proposition? 9 what authority do you believe Moore, et al., cited
10 A. One, yes. 10 for that proposition?
11 Q. And have you read the Kristin Moore Child 11 A. Let me look at the beginning again.
12 Trends research brief? 12 2 parents versus the presence of
13 A. Kristin, yes. 13 biological parents.
14 Q. Do you understand it? 14 It's a point among others that both Amato
15 A. As I said earlier, there's always things 15 and McLanahan and Sandefur have considered.
16 that kind of go over your head, but, yes, I believe I 16 Q. Do you think that Moore and her colleagues
17 do, reasonable. 17 were relying on the source that they cited in
18 Q. What's the central thesis of her -- 18 footnote 5?
19 A. Again, in terms of memory, I struggle, 19 A. To -- to make the statement that we just
20 Mr. McGill. 20 read?
21 There are about 5 Child Trends reports 21 Q. Yes.
22 that year. I believe the one that I specifically 22 A. I think it's likely that they were relying

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1 Well, I've listed here that that was drawn 1 although in several of the studies that we've pulled
2 from Popenoe. 2 out, they mention that they include in -- different
3 Q. Is your reference to intact families 3 social scientists want to be -- and, you know, more
4 accurate? 4 or less inclusive or claiming the definition of who
5 A. May -- may include adopted as well, but 5 they include in the study. We've seen in several of
6 memory doesn't -- doesn't serve me there. 6 these cases that they decide to include adoptive
7 Q. Onward we go. 7 families, which are a small, small minority in the
8 Paragraph 37. 8 general population, a small minority. I don't know
9 A. M-hm. 9 the exact figures.
10 Q. Here you quote at some length from 10 But when you're dealing as these
11 Lorraine Blackmon's review: For African American 11 researchers are with broad national-based samples,
12 children, parental marriage produces important 12 they are as I mentioned earlier, sometimes painting
13 benefits. 13 with a broad brush.
14 And then it ends by saying: Marriage 14 If some of these studies we're talking
15 itself appears to be contributing strongly to better 15 about, they use the term biological or intact and
16 outcomes for black children. 16 they throw in some -- some adopted studies, we would
17 And then you drop a footnote, footnote 59. 17 call that noise at some level, that there's a little
18 And you state there that: The researchers 18 bit of -- there's a little bit of muddying of
19 are again referring to marriage between the 19 concepts, but unless we -- unless we know that
20 biological father and the mother. 20 conceptually, they're including so many adoptive
21 Are you sure that's the case? 21 families, I find that very hard to believe to
22 A. Well, as we've seen in a few of these 22 overthrow the general conclusion of a study based on

Page 183 Page 185


1 studies, they include -- some of them include intact, 1 thousands and thousands of people.
2 adoptive families under -- under biological. That 2 It's --
3 certainly is possible if not probable in some of 3 Q. Well, but --
4 these studies cited by Blackmon, since it's a review 4 A. Well, it's -- it's conceptually an
5 where they cite -- they claimed to cite 120 or so. 5 inconvenience to -- to have a nonclear-cut
6 In this case, I would anticipate that they 6 definition, but the points that are being made, if --
7 would probably have at least some studies. They 7 if adoptive families comprise 1 or 2 or 3 percent of
8 included a handful of adopted marriage-based families 8 the subgroup of what they're calling intact
9 in there. 9 biological families, we're talking about a study
10 Q. Do you wish to revise your statement that 10 that's still 97 percent pure.
11 the phrase parental marriage refers to marriage 11 It doesn't overthrow -- it makes my
12 between the biological father and mother? 12 definition, which is necessarily messy upfront, less
13 A. I think that what I would do there is say 13 convenient, less clean, but it -- you don't throw out
14 typically, conceptually, although some of the 14 the baby with the bath water because they decided to
15 studies, Johnson, et al., and others do include in 15 include a few adoptive families under the intact
16 their definition adoptive families under that 16 heading. That's ridiculous.
17 heading. 17 Further if -- if they decided to put the
18 Q. So we couldn't conclude from Blackmon's 18 intact families or the marriage-based adoptive
19 conclusion here that the benefits of marriage to -- 19 families in for whatever reason in with stepparent
20 for black children are in any way limited to 20 families, and it only accounted for a very small
21 biological parents? 21 minority of the studies in that total population,
22 A. I think that that's an overstatement, 22 it's -- it's again impure conceptually, but it

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1 doesn't ruin the whole study. It doesn't ruin the 1 Q. And so you would admit, then, that your
2 conclusions. 2 footnote 59 where you say that parental marriage was
3 You're always by definition dealing with 3 referring to the marriage between a biological mother
4 noise in social science. The best of these studies 4 and a father -- were you not in that footnote trying
5 are claiming to explain sometimes 30, 35 percent, 40 5 to draw exactly that inference, that it's the
6 percent of the variance. 6 biological marriage that produces importance benefits
7 They're offering incomplete explanations. 7 to the exclusion of other nonbiological marriages?
8 They're doing the very best they can with -- with 8 A. That's a reference to the way biological
9 real life, which is pretty messy, Mr. McGill. And 9 was conceptualized in a number of the studies that
10 adoptive families as I said before, I -- I -- from a 10 were being drawn on.
11 scholarly vantage, I don't have anything particularly 11 And as I've said, I would want -- you
12 for or against them. 12 know, in -- in hindsight, your point being a good
13 If -- if some of the researchers decide to 13 one, I would be more refined in emphasizing that
14 put them in with intact, that's -- that's fine. And 14 researchers conceptualize that a little bit
15 with stepfamilies, that's fine. 15 differently.
16 But I would prefer -- I believe that they 16 MR. THOMPSON: Can we take a 5-minute
17 deserve a discrete category themselves. My belief 17 break?
18 doesn't apply to a hundred different researchers who 18 If you're in the middle of something --
19 approach this -- this tough problem. 19 THE VIDEOGRAPHER: 10 minutes.
20 It's a tough problem to -- to tease out, 20 MR. McGILL: Do you want to wait till the
21 that they're going to approach it in different ways. 21 tape is up?
22 I would only reframe the statement that I make there 22 MR. THOMPSON: Sure.

Page 187 Page 189


1 a little bit. 1 THE WITNESS: Let's keep rolling.
2 I wouldn't -- I wouldn't retract it. It 2 BY MR. McGILL:
3 would be ideal to know specifically at the end of the 3 Q. In paragraph 41 -- and we're nearing the
4 day, to call somebody on these gold standard studies 4 end of your report -- paragraph 41, you state that:
5 and say, okay, you had 12,000 and 6,000 were intact 5 When biological fatherhood and marriage are combined,
6 families, of that 6,000, how many were adopted, so 6 the research indicates that children tend to fare
7 that they could tell you 30, 60, a hundred. And 7 better, at least in part because married fathers tend
8 you'd know what kind of noise you were dealing with, 8 to have better relationships with the mothers of
9 but you still wouldn't throw the study out. 9 their children than fathers in marriage alternatives.
10 And I wouldn't throw out my conclusion. I 10 And for that proposition, you cite Nock's
11 would -- I would refine it, but I wouldn't throw it 11 1998 book.
12 out. 12 Do you know if Nock was referring to bio-
13 Q. Is there anything in Blackmon's statement 13 -- referred ever to biological fatherhood?
14 that for African American children, parental marriage 14 We're in paragraph 41.
15 produces important benefits? 15 A. In marriage alternatives.
16 Let's focus on that sentence. 16 Q. And I'm focused here on the phrase
17 A. Okay. 17 biological fatherhood.
18 Q. Is there anything in that sentence that 18 A. Biological.
19 would allow you to infer that a marriage of adoptive 19 I have read Nock's book in its entirety,
20 parents produces less importance benefits than 20 but it's been a while. Let me look at the statement
21 marriage of biological parents? 21 one more time, Mr. McGill.
22 A. No, I don't think so, from that sense. 22 Married fathers tend to have better

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1 adjustment than the intact family? 1 it would seem right now that it would be likely that
2 MR. THOMPSON: Objection, compound. 2 the answer to that question would be the intact
3 A. Gay or lesbian -- 3 family would have better child development outcomes.
4 BY MR. McGILL: 4 But we've got again, 2 or 3 studies, and I'm going to
5 Q. Let's break -- let's break it up. 5 be patient and see -- let the research speak its
6 A. Okay. Go ahead. 6 piece.
7 Q. Do you have an opinion as to whether 7 Again, as mentioned, I'm formulating.
8 the -- whether a married lesbian couple, let us say 8 Q. And are you -- in your answer, you are
9 they were married in Massachusetts, is as likely to 9 referring to a married lesbian couple?
10 produce good childhood adjustment, good child 10 A. That's -- it's a good question, because in
11 adjustment than the intact family? 11 terms of marriage, you want to talk about nascent,
12 MR. THOMPSON: And I'm going to object on 12 you know, and brand-new and budding. We're -- we're
13 the grounds that his rebuttal report may well address 13 having to deal, you know, in the research now almost
14 this, but I'm going to let him answer it subject to 14 solely to my knowledge in the same-sex parenting
15 the caveat that he's thinking about this and will be 15 literature with cohabiting couple -- or cohabiting
16 thinking hard about it over the next week and a half. 16 lesbian relationships or domestic partnerships.
17 But go ahead. 17 So there's -- in fact, I know of no -- no
18 BY MR. McGILL: 18 study that specifically addresses lesbian marriage
19 Q. If the answer is that you do not yet have 19 and child outcomes. Partnerships, yes, cohabiting,
20 an opinion formed, please give that answer, but if 20 yes, but marriage is -- marriage is brand-new.
21 you have an opinion, I'd like to hear it. 21 There may be a Massachusetts study coming
22 MR. THOMPSON: I'm just saying it's 22 out that I'm not aware of, but --

Page 199 Page 201


1 subject to the caveat that he may revise the opinion 1 Q. You cite in your report on a few occasions
2 or expand on the opinion, but it's the focus of 2 David Popenoe's book, here, Life Without Father.
3 ongoing research. 3 Are you familiar with this book?
4 But go ahead. 4 A. I am.
5 A. Intact lesbian married couple -- well, I 5 Q. Have you read it in its entirety?
6 mean, lesbian married couple compared with intact 6 A. I have.
7 marriage, my -- my read on the scholarly research is 7 Q. Are you familiar with Popenoe's argument
8 that as I mentioned, there have only been 1 or 2 -- 8 that gender-differentiated parenting is essential for
9 perhaps another study or 2 that I'm unaware of that 9 good child outcomes?
10 have directly made that kind of a comparison, but 10 A. I am.
11 there are several that have compared lesbian mothers 11 Q. Do you agree with that argument?
12 to single-parent or single-mother families. 12 A. The research that I have read shows --
13 BY MR. McGILL: 13 shows mixed support I would say at best for that
14 Q. I guess I didn't -- I did not get out of 14 thesis of Dr. Popenoe's.
15 that whether you have an opinion or not. 15 There is some research that supports it.
16 A. The opinion that I have would be 16 There's some that would refute it, including
17 inferential based on the gold standard studies that 17 literature that I've read by Dr. Lamb.
18 I've referred to that indicate the intact families do 18 Q. So you did not rely on the theory most
19 substantially better across the critical concerns 19 famously espoused by Dr. Popenoe that
20 that I outlined in the research report than 20 gender-differentiated parenting is essential for good
21 single-mother or single-parent families do. 21 child outcomes?
22 By inference, cautious, careful inference, 22 You did not rely on that theory in

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1 arriving at your conclusions? 1 and there are parenting activities that women can do
2 A. No. 2 that men are very unlikely to do. And I'm not
3 I use -- I don't know that any of the 6 3 talking about biologically, you know, obvious
4 critical concerns that I outline are 4 parenting activities, such as breast feeding, but his
5 gender-laden-oriented. 5 theory that men play with their children differently
6 I use biological intact parenting not of 6 and in a way that women do not, and women care for
7 my choice necessarily, because it's -- it's the 7 their children differently in a way that men do not.
8 phrase as we've seen that -- that Child Trends -- 8 Is that general theory of parenting taken
9 that McLanahan and Sandefur use in assessing the 9 at its broadest level of generality -- is that at all
10 scholarship. 10 a basis for the conclusions you reach in your report?
11 It's not Popenoe influence. 11 A. That's -- that's not a theory that -- that
12 Q. Would it -- is it influenced by a theory 12 I espouse.
13 of the importance of gender-differentiated parenting 13 In terms of research, I think I mentioned
14 at all, whether -- as espoused by Popenoe or someone 14 earlier in the day that that's highly contested
15 else? 15 ground. It's highly contested ground, and frankly,
16 A. I don't -- let me think for a moment. 16 it's not a battle that I would fight either way.
17 One more time if you don't mind restating 17 I don't know that you'd say I'm agnostic
18 the question. 18 on the issue, but I've seen good scholarship from
19 Q. Do your conclusions in this case rely upon 19 both sides and I'm not ready to buy either theory.
20 the theory of gender-differentiated parenting and 20 Q. But importantly for this proceeding, it is
21 specifically the importance of gender-differentiated 21 not a basis for the conclusions in your report?
22 parenting to reaching good child outcomes at all, 22 A. It's not a basis for it, no.

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1 whether as espoused by Popenoe or someone else? 1 Q. Okay. So the basis for your conclusion
2 A. Gender -- gender is usually defined as 2 that the intact family -- I just want to read it --
3 cultural as opposed to sex, which would be more 3 A. You bet.
4 biologically driven. 4 12?
5 In terms of gender-differentiated 5 MR. THOMPSON: 44, the conclusions.
6 parenting, I don't think I make any specific 6 BY MR. McGILL:
7 arguments that argue a whole lot about the cultural 7 Q. 44.
8 construct of gender. I'm dealing with sex, meaning 8 Your basis for the conclusion that the
9 intact, you know -- 9 intact family is the ideal context for these child
10 Q. Right. 10 outcomes, the basis for your conclusion that the
11 A. -- biological father and biological 11 intact family is the ideal context for these child
12 mother. 12 outcomes is based on as I understand it 2 factors.
13 I don't -- I don't think that the report 13 One is the marital structure, and second
14 deals with gender differentiation specifically. 14 is the biological link between parents and children.
15 Frankly I felt the critical concerns that I listed 15 A. That's correct.
16 were more important, more salient. 16 Q. Are there other --
17 Q. So I want to just make sure I understand 17 MR. THOMPSON: Do you have anything to add
18 it. 18 to that?
19 Your -- you are -- you do not share the 19 THE WITNESS: No.
20 view relied upon by -- or espoused by Popenoe that 20 I'll continue to listen for a moment.
21 there are parenting activities that men can do that 21 MR. THOMPSON: Well, no, if you have more,
22 women cannot do and -- or are very unlikely to do, 22 because you don't know what he's going to say. So if

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1 Do I impose it on others? 1 Q. So that belief predates your work as a
2 I believe in cleaning up my own backyard. 2 social scientist?
3 Q. And for clarity sake, the -- the dogma 3 A. Yes.
4 that you referred to just in your last response, 4 MR. McGILL: We'll take a 1- , 2-minute
5 that's known as the law of chastity. 5 break and find out if there are any last questions.
6 Correct? 6 MR. THOMPSON: Sound good.
7 A. That is correct. 7 THE VIDEOGRAPHER: We're going off the
8 Q. Did your religious convictions impact your 8 record. The time is now 6:09 PM.
9 opinion that the ideal family structure is marriage 9 (Recess.)
10 between man and a woman and a child biologically 10 THE VIDEOGRAPHER: The time is now 6:13
11 related to each in any way? 11 PM. You may proceed.
12 A. My exposure to -- to that -- that dogma 12 BY MR. McGILL:
13 I'm sure is one of many factors that -- that ran 13 Q. Dr. Marks, earlier in the deposition
14 around in my head. 14 today, we addressed paragraph 15 of your report,
15 But again I was called as an expert 15 which is marked as exhibit 2.
16 witness in the same sense that I wouldn't come in 16 A. Okay.
17 here and make my argument based on what's stated in 17 Q. Can you go back to that.
18 the family proclamation to the world. I took that 18 A. I'll try -- I'll try and get there
19 same approach in my scholarly -- my scholarly work. 19 quickly. Okay.
20 I think I've addressed again and again 20 Q. And addressing the last sentence: Wilcox
21 that I acknowledge potential for bias and that that 21 and colleagues state that teens living with both
22 makes challenge fair play. However, please remember 22 biological parents are significantly less likely to

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1 my earlier statement that I also have taken upon me 1 illicit drugs alcohol and tobacco.
2 the burden of challenge. This is -- you know, 2 And you said that on reflection, having
3 scholarship is about strengths and challenges, not 3 reviewed with me the Johnson study, you would delete
4 just dogmatically presenting one. 4 the word biological.
5 Q. When is the first time you held the belief 5 A. Said, delete.
6 that the ideal family structure is marriage between a 6 I probably would have contextualized it
7 man and a woman and a child biologically related to 7 differently, added to it to make it accurate for the
8 each? 8 1996 study and more precisely consistent with 1996.
9 MR. THOMPSON: Objection, relevance. 9 Q. So you might have said, teens living with
10 A. Mr. McGill, I don't know. I don't know 10 both biological and adoptive families?
11 how to answer that question. 11 A. Including adoptive, yeah.
12 BY MR. McGILL: 12 Q. And my question, which is my very last
13 Q. Is it -- is it fair to say that you held 13 question, is, are there any other changes you would
14 that view, you held that belief before your 14 make to this report that you would -- or any words
15 engagement as an expert in this case? 15 you would like to delete before trial?
16 A. Yes. 16 A. No.
17 Q. Is it fair to say you held that belief 17 I would want to be more precise on the
18 before you received your Ph.D. degree? 18 definitions than I was in a couple of cases. It's
19 A. Yes. 19 the danger of large studies. I would want to be more
20 Q. Did you hold that belief before you 20 precise, but I stand behind the report as is.
21 graduated from college? 21 Q. Do you stand behind the -- do you
22 A. Yes. 22 recall -- excuse me -- do you recall when we went --

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1 when we discussed the Rinkel and Langer report? 1 MR. McGILL: Thank you.
2 A. Yes. 2 As Melanie wrote to me, "you are done."
3 That was a natural -- or natural father 3 THE VIDEOGRAPHER: This concludes the
4 versus biological. 4 deposition of Dr. Loren Marks. The time is now 6:18
5 Correct? 5 PM. The total number of videotapes used were 7.
6 Q. It was -- you used biological -- 6 Thank you.
7 A. And they used natural. 7 (Whereupon, at 6:18 p.m., the taking of
8 Q. -- but Rinkel and Langer studied natural 8 the instant deposition ceased.)
9 fathers, stepfathers, no father? 9
10 MR. THOMPSON: Surrogates. 10
11 A. And surrogates. 11
12 BY MR. McGILL: 12 _____________________________
13 Q. Which included stepfather. 13 Signature of the Witness
14 A. It included adopted under the natural -- 14
15 or it was -- anyway, go ahead. 15 SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN to before me this _______ day of
16 Q. So my question is, would you change that? 16 _________________, 20________.
17 Would you change that use of biological 17
18 there? 18
19 A. Yes, I would be precise -- more precise. 19 _____________________________
20 Q. Do you recall when we went through the 20 Notary Public
21 Blackmon paper? 21
22 A. Yes. 22 My Commission Expires:________________

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1 Q. And his use of parental marriage, that 1 CERTIFICATE OF COURT REPORTER
2 term? 2 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA )
3 A. (Nodding head.) 3 DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA )
4 Q. Would you change footnote 59 where you say 4 I, CHERYL A. LORD, the reporter before
5 that Blackmon was, quote, referring to marriage 5 whom the foregoing deposition was taken, do hereby
6 between the biological father and mother? 6 certify that the witness whose testimony appears in
7 A. I would make it more precise. And as a 7 the foregoing deposition was sworn by me; that the
8 blanket statement, I'd say I would list upfront what 8 testimony of said witness was taken by me in machine
9 I said orally, but not in writing, that some of these 9 shorthand and thereafter transcribed by
10 studies may included adoptive fathers -- or adoptive 10 computer-aided transcription; that said deposition is
11 with intact, cover it -- that would cover it. 11 a true record of the testimony given by said witness;
12 Q. Is there any use of biological in this 12 that I am neither counsel for, related to, nor
13 report that you are absolutely certain refers only to 13 employed by any of the parties to the action in which
14 children who are genetically related to their 14 this deposition was taken; and, further, that I am
15 parents? 15 not a relative or employee of any attorney or counsel
16 A. I would go back and put a statement 16 employed by the parties hereto, or financially or
17 upfront that says exactly what I just said, it would 17 otherwise interested in the outcome of this action.
18 include -- some of these studies include a very small 18
19 noise amount of adoptive families. 19 CHERYL A. LORD
20 I certainly wouldn't throw the studies out 20 Notary Public in and for
21 as indicated earlier, but I'd be more precise on -- 21 the District of Columbia
22 on that. 22 My Commission expires April 30, 2011

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