Perry v. Schwarzenegger
This landmark case challenged the constitutional validity of California’s Proposition 8, which bars the state from recognizing same-sex marriages. The Plaintiffs claimed Proposition 8 violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and should be struck down. This case brought together a coalition of very diverse and talented attorneys, including Ted Olson and David Boies, former opponents from Bush v. Gore, to represent the Plaintiffs and defend the right to same-sex marriage.
The Focal Point’s Role
The Focal Point was retained on a Pro Bono agreement, along with Empirical Creative LLC, to work with the Plaintiffs’ expert witnesses to develop graphics for testimony and provide courtroom presentation and technology support. Testimony included detailing the history of discriminatory laws affecting gays and lesbians in the US, the ongoing political disadvantages they face, and the effect that changing marriage laws would have. Graphics were also developed to highlight evidence that stable gay families provide an environment equally as nurturing for children as stable straight families. The Focal Point also provided trial tech support, organizing and presenting video and data in the courtroom, as well as for the media.
Artwork by Vicki Beringher, Copyright 2010, CourtRoomArtist.com
Judge Vaughn Walker found that California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage irrationally discriminates against gay men and lesbians, and is unconstitutional on the basis of Due Process and the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution.
US District Court, Northern California (San Francisco, CA)
The Focal Point’s Clients
Theodore B. Olson
Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr.
Rebecca Justice Lazarus
Beko O. Reblitz-Richardson
San Francisco City Attorney’s Office