SAN FRANCISCO — A lawyer representing two same-sex couples who seek recognition of a constitutional right to marry compared the fight to the great civil rights struggles of the 20th century, as a federal judge Wednesday heard closing arguments in the trial over California's Proposition 8.
Republican former U.S. solicitor general Theodore B. Olson said that regardless of California voters' motivation in amending their state's constitution to limit marriage to a man and a woman, such an inclusion violates federal guarantees of due process and equal protection.
He said his clients seek no new definition of marriage, but simply access to marriage that the Supreme Court has held is a fundamental right.
“Proposition 8 discriminates on the basis of sex the same as Virginia law discriminated on the basis of race,” Olson told Chief District Judge Vaughn R. Walker. He was referring to the law banning interracial marriage that the Supreme Court struck in 1967 in the landmark case Loving v. Virginia.