In re Marriage Cases

43 Cal.4th 757
Brief Filed: 09/07
Court: California Supreme Court
Year of Decision: 2008

Read the full-text amicus brief (PDF, 360KB)

Issue

Addresses a constitutional challenge to California’s refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples

Index Topic

Sexual Orientation (discrimination; marriage)

Facts

The plaintiffs in this case include fifteen same-sex couples who wish to marry in California and advocacy groups for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered Californians. Now before the California Supreme Court, they argue that “California has long led the nation in recognizing that constitutional provisions guaranteeing equal protection, privacy, due process and freedom of association and expression require that lesbian and gay people, like all people, be treated fairly under the law.” Notwithstanding these protections, California has denied same-sex couples the right to marry. That denial, they argue, violates the California Constitution.

APA's Position

APA’s amicus brief provided extensive psychological research on key points, including how sexual orientation is related to the gender of partners to whom one is attracted — meaning that prohibiting same-sex marriage discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation, rather than just imposing disparate burdens on gay people. Current scientific research on the nature of same-sex relationships, the role of child-rearing, and the stigma resulting from denying the label “marriage” to same-sex unions. For example, the brief cited psychological research showing that gay and lesbian parents are not any less fit or capable than heterosexual parents, and that their children are not less adjusted.

Results

In striking down California’s ban on same-sex marriage, the state’s Supreme Court cited the amicus curiae brief APA jointly filed with the California Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the National Association of Social Workers and its California chapter. The court held that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples violates the state constitution. Out of the 45 amicus briefs in the case, the only brief cited and quoted in support of the decision was the one APA co-filed.