U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker set a January 11 trial date for the federal challenge to Proposition 8 litigated by superstar attorneys Ted Olson and David Boies, and the American Foundation for Equal Rights. The conservative anti-gay legal group Alliance Defense Fund, which is defending Prop 8 for the State Of California, opposed a trial and argued last Friday the case could be quickly decided without trial.
Walker also barred a coalition of LGBT groups—Our Family Coalition, Lavender Seniors of the East Bay; and Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)—from joining the case. A similar request by the anti-gay Campaign for California Families, which supported Prop 8, was also denied. Olson and Boies made the request last week and accused "the organizations of trying to usurp their case and [argued] adding parties would only slow the proceedings down," reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
Lambda Legal, the ACLU and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, who are representing the coalition of gay groups, were not pleased with the ruling and released this statement. "On behalf of our clients, we are disappointed that the court did not permit organizations that represent California’s diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community to participate in the case as the Court weighs the harms inflicted by Proposition 8. The significance of this case for our entire community is enormous. To exclude the people whose very freedom is at stake is troubling. Our commitment to restoring marriage for all Californians is unwavering, and we will continue to do everything within our power to secure full equality and justice for LGBT people."
The judge allowed intervention by the City of San Francisco, which also challenged Prop. 8 in state court. The Chronicle reports: Walker "said the city brings a unique perspective, with its claims that denying marriage to same-sex couples leads to higher government costs in health care and social services."
The Mercury News adds: "Walker ordered the parties to start taking depositions and sharing information in the discovery process immediately, with expert witnesses to be designated by Oct. 2 and discovery to conclude Nov. 30." Walker scheduled a hearing Oct. 14 on pre-trial legal disputes.