Prop 8 Forces San Francisco Lawyers to Change Roles

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When Proposition 8 passed in California in November of 2008, San Francisco city attorney Dennis J. Herrera said he never expected the reaction his office was going to get.

“We’re defense lawyers,” Herrera told The New York Times. “We defend laws that are on the books. And we got a lot of heat at the time for stepping out of that traditional defense role.”

Herrera is referring to his office ditching their usual role of enforcing the laws of their city and state, to challenging the legality of Prop 8. Herrera’s office now includes five former Supreme Court law clerks and has been involved with every step in the long legal battle over the constitutionality of Prop 8.

Herrera has made it his mission to see this case through to the end, and hopefully see marriage equality back in California and country wide. To do that, Herrera has assembled a team including George Bush rescuer Theodore B. Olsen and David Boises. Herrera told The New York Times he was not surprised by the caliber of the talent he has been able to attract.

“Why do they go to law school in the first place?” he said. “They want to be involved in cases of some moment.”

Herrera has submitted a brief to the Supreme Court where the city of San Francisco argues that since civil unions are allowed in California and seven other states, the Supreme Court could be allowed to overturn Prop 8 and all other bans on same-sex marriage.

The Supreme Court is expected to start hearing arguments on Prop8 and DOMA on March 26. Ryan Dixon


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